Behavioral change is the cornerstone of HIV prevention - Mauritian Minister

Port-Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - Mauritian Health Minister Lormus Bundhoo said the majority of premature adult deaths are linked to behavior that begins in adolescence such as smoking, sniffing, alcohol intake and risky sexual behavior.

Speaking on World AIDS Day which was marked at Roche-Bois, a suburb of the Mauritian capital, Port-Louis, where a one-day screening for HIV/AIDS was held to raise awareness on the issue, the Minister said it is known that the earlier a young person participates in such behaviors, the more negative the outcomes.

“Even though we are in the information age with advanced technological gadgets, some adolescents lack access to adequate information to enable them to make informed choices,” Bundhoo said.

According to him, this situation is worsened by poor parenting and poor communication between parents and their children.

The Minister expressed concern that some young people still remained uninformed about their sexual and reproductive health, including sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS.  

He said while some adolescents have heard of HIV, most are still unaware of how to protect themselves from the virus and they tend to believe that they are not at risk.

“Violence and negative peer role models are associated with risky behaviors leading to unwanted pregnancy, chronic substance abuse and HIV infection. Injecting drug use, in turn, leads to crime or prostitution to finance the drug habit,” he said.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Mauritius is 1.02 per cent in the population aged 15 years and above.

As at September 2013, there were 5,696 HIV cases among Mauritians, out of whom 710 have died.
-0- PANA NA/SEG 1Dec2013

01 december 2013 16:05:06

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