San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Survey Says Tico Teens Don’t Understand AIDS

Most young Costa Ricans have no idea how AIDS is transmitted, according to a recent study sponsored by the country’s Social Security System (Caja), the Paniamor Foundation and the Children’s Defense Foundation.

Only 35% of the Costa Rican adolescents surveyed understood that unprotected sex or use of contaminated needles could transmit HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Perhaps equally shocking, the study revealed that of those surveyed who’d already had sex, 50% began between the ages of 12 and 15. Few of them had used a condom, and most had sexual relations with adults, increasing the likelihood of youth infection.

According to a statement from the Caja, a handbook explaining AIDS and the methods for transmission is in production.

Just last week, the Health Ministry and members of the country’s gay community launched a campaign to educate citizens about HIV/AIDS prevention, including workshops and placing 1,500 posters in health-care centers and eductational facilities around the country (TT, June 29).

Health Ministry officials said this week an estimated 7,800 people have HIV/AIDS in Costa Rica.


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