Australian-Backed Program Trains Peer Educators in China in HIV/AIDS Prevention
A program backed by the Australian government is training youth peer educators in China's Yunnan province to help spread the word about HIV/AIDS prevention, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Most infections in Yunnan, which sits in the "Golden Triangle" on the borders of Laos, Burma and Vietnam and is a popular tourist destination, are the result of intravenous drug use, although sexual transmission is increasing. Audrey Swift, who has directed the Yunnan/Australian Red Cross HIV/AIDS Prevention Project for more than four years, said people in the region are aware of HIV but "don't seem to apply it to themselves." To get its message across, her group trains youth peer educators about how HIV spreads; the links between HIV, drug use and unprotected sex; other sexually transmitted diseases; and the care and support of people with HIV/AIDS. Over the last five years, the program's instructors have trained about 21,000 youth peer educators in Yunnan, and they recently expanded operations to the western province of Xinjiang. AusAID, the Australian government's international assistance agency, has provided about $49,000 (U.S.) in assistance for the program (Schauble, Sydney Morning Herald, 4/16).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.