A new video game being launched by the United Nations aims to provide young people with accurate and reliable information about HIV prevention, while educating, entertaining and promoting healthy behaviour.
The computer game “Fast Car: Travelling Safely around the World,” launched by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), targets young people over the age of 16 and is available in English, French and Russian.
While racing on circuits on five different continents and virtually visiting some of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, players will receive information on existing prevention practices, treatment and care for HIV and AIDS.
“The importance of the game consists in providing young people with information materials on HIV and AIDS that can be widely distributed through communication channels in order to help them to gain an accurate understanding of these issues and preventive practices,” the Paris-based agency stated in a news release.
UNESCO notes that HIV-related issues can be a difficult topic of conversation, both for children and adults.
“Children may worry about parents’ disapproval and have fears about the risk of becoming infected with HIV,” says the agency.
“Parents,” it adds,” are often shy, lack accurate information about HIV and AIDS, or do not have sufficient skills to speak about prevention with their children, and teachers frequently assume that parents will talk with children at home.”
Empowering young people to protect themselves from HIV is one of the priority areas of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which notes that young people aged 15 to 24 account for two out of every five new HIV infections globally.
This means worldwide almost 3,500 young people are infected with HIV every day. Most young people still do not have access to the information, skills, services or social support required to enable them to prevent HIV infection, according to UNAIDS.