Chin Youths ‘Ignorant of HIV/AIDS’
24 May 2011: More than 89 percent of young people between 14 and 25 years of age in Chin State admitted they have no knowledge of what HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) actually means, according to a survey conducted by CAD (Country Agency for Rural Development).
The survey carried out among 322 youths from 10 villages in Thantlang and Hakha townships in January and February this year revealed 67.1 percent are ignorant about its risks and prevention while more than 70 percent said they have never had an opportunity or access to health education or training in a year.
73.3 percent admitted that they have never known or seen any condoms in their lives and more than 60 percent said they have never had sex, according to the report released today by CAD.
CAD said: “We identified their [youths] levels of knowledge and attitude towards the ‘infectious’ disease and its risks. The results indicate that most of them show a high level of attitude, with low knowledge and no understanding of the risks.”
The report stressed that the knowledge level is immensely related to the age and education status of the respondent, which can also be much influenced by the family’s income, occupation and educational background of the parents.
Chin youths living closer to the bigger towns such as Thantlang and Hakha are claimed to have higher knowledge of HIV/AIDS than those in the remote areas in Chin State.
CAD highlighted the needs of putting more efforts in raising awareness about the disease and its risks, and providing health education and information to youths and families in rural areas of Chin State.
Meanwhile, rights groups have accused the new government of Burma of allocating 24 percent of its budget for the military, 4.3 percent for education and only 1.3 percent for health.
The Country Agency for Rural Development (CAD), a local non-governmental organization founded on 6 May 2004, has been working for remote villages in three townships (Hakha, Matupi and Thangtlang) in the central part of Chin state and some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma.
Van Biak Thang