Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS of Most at Risk Youth

A study is being carried out by MGC to determine the degree of vulnerability and risky behaviours of young people living in low income communities and to recommend preventive measures to be taken to reduce transmission of STIs and HIV/AIDS and improve Sexual and Reproductive Health. This study will provide baseline data for the design of the specific content of programming for MARY (Most at Risk Youth) in Sri Lanka. The study is based on the hypothesis that young people living in low income settlements of Sri Lanka are most-at-risk and especially vulnerable to STIs and HIV/AIDS. Young people aged 10-24 years constitute 28% of Sri Lanka’s total population of 19.1 million. The majority of them fall in the adolescent age group (10-19 years) and account for 3.7 million (19.7%) of Sri Lankan population. HIV prevalence among those between 15-24 years of age was estimated to be 0.02% among males and 0.03% among females. Sri Lanka is still at an early stage of the HIV epidemic and its successful control, to a large extend, will depend on knowledge, attitudes and practices among the country’s adolescents and youth. A large number of young persons will be at risk of HIV due to their sexual behaviours, unless they are aware of how to avoid risky behaviours.

The Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) of the young people living in low income settlements (slums) will be studied on sexual and reproductive health and their risks and vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS and STIs, action to overcome these risks and vulnerabilities will be identified and recommendations will be made to improve policies, programs and practices to prevent risks and vulnerabilities.