Nearly half of the people in the world are under the age of 25, with one in three people aged between 10 and 24 years. Youth are most at risk of HIV infection and other sexual health problems. These include unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The HIV pandemic has made us think about how and when to have sex in a way that is healthy for our partners and ourselves. This includes knowing how to say 'no' to sex when we do not want it. Many youth have a lot of knowledge about HIV prevention, but this knowledge is not always right. It is often difficult to put into practice. This means HIV infection rates are highest in people under 24 years old, especially among young women. Youth must be helped to have safe and healthy sexual development, so that they can protect themselves against HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancy. These guidelines provide some ideas for how you, as a counsellor, can support youth on issues of sex and sexuality. If young people understand their sexuality, they will: Feel good about their sexual feelings; Be able to express those feelings in a way that is fulfilling and safe; Have good sexual health. For example, not having an unplanned pregnancy or STI, and reducing the risk of a violent sexual experience; Stay free from HIV infection if HIV negative, or have a healthy, safe sexual and reproductive life if HIV positive; Avoid stigma and discrimination by understanding and accepting those who feel or behave differently. This book will help you to: Understand that sexuality is different for each of us; Support young people to make informed decisions that are best for their circumstances; Have the right information to help them to act on their own decisions.
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