YOUTH led organisation YEAH launched the first open source Peer Education Hub on sexual health as part of this year’s AIDS Conference. Daniel Driscoll reports.
Sexual health and peer educators can now share information and strategies to better educate young people about sexual health and HIV with the launch of a peer education hub.
YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS Australia) launched their Peer Education Hub at ACMI last month followed by a panel discussion as part of the 20th International AIDS Conference.
Alischa Ross, Chief Executive of YEAH, said in the evening’s opening speech that YEAH has positioned the Hub as a free source for information to allow sexual health and peer educators convenient access to the tools they need to spread educational messages easily.
Present at the evening’s launch and discussion were Dr Luiz Loures, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations, and Christopher Castle, Chief of Section, HIV & Health Education UNESCO.
Mr Castle said that education programmes on HIV are “all too rare” and are unfortunately not available in most countries.
He added that the necessity of these programmes is all too clear as “young people bear a very high level of HIV infection”.
An informal panel discussion hosted by Dr Norman Swan, producer and presenter of the Health Report on ABC Radio National followed. The panel comprised Dr Loures, Mr Castle, YEAH’s Volunteer Manager of Peer Educators, Kaushi Kogar, and YEAH Youth Peer Sexual Health and HIV Educators Sam Brand and Oona Cochrane.
Dr Loures said “the (HIV) epidemic is increasing and we’re not finding a way through to get the message right” across to young people.
He attributed part of the reason to “young people missed people dying” at the height of the original epidemic. He went on to say “young people need to find their way through” in regards to getting the message across to their peers.
Mr Brand noted that “there’s a lot of sexual shame” surrounding AIDS and HIV, while highlighting that “peer education is about educating young people in more than just the traditional way”.
He added that peer education gives people a safe place to deal with their sexuality without feeling judged by their friends or family.
YEAH is a not-for-profit organisation that interacts with young people, providing AIDS and HIV awareness and sexual health education through programs such as their Peer Educators and the newly launched Peer Education Hub.
For further information, check out their official website.