CONCASIDA opens with spotlight on needs of young people

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CONCASIDA opens with spotlight on needs of young people

01 March 2010

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The Sixth Central American Congress on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (CONCASIDA) will take place in San Jose, Costa Rica from 1-5 March 2010 with the theme "Youth: for my right to know and decide."

CONCASIDA, a multi-sector event which aims at sharing experiences, scientific information and research, takes place every two years in a Central American country. This year, the congress aims to focus its attention on youth vulnerability of Central American countries due to the lack of sexual education and the increase in infections within this age group. CONCASIDA also aims to analyze the social impact of this on Central American nations.

A 2008 study carried out by the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF with support from UNAIDS showed that the majority of young people in Costa Rica were sexually active at the age of 16. The study also highlighted that there was lack of HIV information and knowledge among Costa Rican youth.

The study shows that in Limón only about 28% of the young people interviewed know how to use a condom correctly whereas in Puntarenas the percentage drops to about 17%. Furthermore, in both provinces, more than 50% of the adolescents find that asking a partner to use a condom could be interpreted as a sign of mistrust. Finally, 43% in both provinces think that a young girl carrying condoms in her purse is a woman with a “doubtful reputation.”

This year’s main themes of the congress include care, control and surveillance; prevention and promotion; risk factors for social and psycho-emotional; human rights and legislation; and monitoring and evaluation of HIV and AIDS commitments.

During the congress, different stakeholders will present the result of their work and search alternatives for more effective ways to respond to the AIDS epidemic.