Australian Associated Press (08.17.05) - Thursday, August 18,
Ignorance of how HIV is transmitted is rife among Indonesian
teenagers, and their lack of knowledge is typical of many in
the region, according to UNICEF HIV/AIDS East Asia and Pacific
adviser Wing-Sie Cheng.
In a recent lecture at La Trobe University in Melbourne,
Australia, Cheng said students in many East Asian countries
believe they can protect themselves from HIV by avoiding
mosquito bites and clothes-sharing and by using traditional
Among Indonesian teens, 70-90 percent do not know how HIV is
transmitted, she said. In rural China, 56 percent of students
believed that exercise would prevent HIV; 26 percent thought a
good diet would protect them from the virus. Half the Chinese
youths did not know the importance of condom use, Cheng said.
"This is really the level of ignorance and misconception you
are talking about. The prevention message simply isn't getting
across." Cheng said Asia-Pacific governments need to make
condoms freely available and target HIV prevention information
toward young people.
The "silent tsunami" of HIV, which already affects 3 million
people in the region, will spread to 12 million more by 2010
unless further action is taken, Cheng said.