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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Young people hit hardest by Aids
Aids treatment centre, Uganda
The report calls for better education schemes
Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for half of all new cases of HIV around the world, according to Unicef.

A report, to be published later on Tuesday, shows that nearly 6,000 young people become infected with HIV each day throughout the world.

The charity will warn that governments must pay more attention to the needs of young people if the spread of Aids is to be halted.


The vast majority of young people remain uninformed about sex and sexually transmitted infections

Unicef report
It will also say that many young people are simply not aware of the risks and causes of HIV.

The report highlights a number of reasons for the high rate of infections in young people, including high levels of rape and intravenous drug use in some countries.

It also points to figures suggesting that more than one million children are involved in the commercial sex trade world-wide.

Devastation

But it warns that another generation will be devastated by the disease unless governments take firm action.

It says: "More than two decades into the epidemic, the vast majority of young people remain uninformed about sex and sexually transmitted infections.

"Although a majority of them have heard of Aids, many do not know how HIV is spread and do not believe they are at risk."

It adds: "This report underscores the urgent need for governments and civil society everywhere to work with young people on effective prevention, treatment and care strategies for them."

Simon Wright, of UK charity Action Aid, called for extra money to fund HIV prevention programmes in the developing world.

Simon Wright, Action Aid
Mr Wright called for money to help poor countries
He told the BBC: "We should be massively increasing the amount of aid we give to developing countries."

Lisa Power, of the Terrence Higgins Trust, urged action in the UK.

"This shocking global statistic shows how easy it would be for the virus to take a much greater hold amongst young people in the UK too - rates of sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia have more than doubled since 1995.

"We urge the UK Government to prioritise sexual health now. The long term consequences of neglecting young people's sexual health are too great to ignore."

The report comes less than a week before the start of the XIV International Aids Conference in Barcelona.

Former US President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela will join thousands of delegates in calling for global action to fight the disease.


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27 Jul 02 | Health
02 Jul 02 | Africa
01 Dec 01 | In Depth
04 Apr 02 | Health
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