The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the European Union have teamed up to support peer counselling and promote HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in seven Asian countries.
The agreement, signed yesterday, provides €22 million (euro) for the three-year Reproductive Health Initiative for Youth in Asia, which will be implemented in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam.
In addition to peer counselling and promotion of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, the new programme will also help improve access to youth-oriented reproductive health services and build the capacity of local non-governmental organizations to meet young people's health needs.
Just last year, UNFPA signed a similar agreement with the EU for €20 million to help 10 African and Caribbean countries with very high maternal death ratios, rising HIV/AIDS rates, and lack of basic reproductive health-care services.
"The lives of countless Asian youth will be touched and saved by this initiative to provide them with the health services needed to avoid HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies and other serious problems," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA's Executive Director. "I join millions of Asian youth in expressing profound gratitude for the generosity of the European Union and all its members. Their generosity will provide hope to millions of young persons as they navigate the difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood."