Today, December 1st marks World Aids Day and National AIDS Commission held a campaign to encourage behavioral change among young people. The Commission targeted the 15-24 year old age group because statistics show this sub-group has the highest incidents of HIV Infection, almost twice as much as the general population. Eleven schools across the city gathered at the bliss today where they were sensitized through dramatic presentations and pep talks. Dr. Cuellar, Executive Director of The National Aids Commission told us more:

Dr. Martin Cuellar, Executive Director of The National Aids Commission
"What we are doing is we are using behavior change methodologies because we want to make sure that we increases the chances that the young people who are coming to the rallies can actually take away something specific that will assist in proving their own self protection and so the rallies are design to include interactive activities, poems, different form of artistic expressions and for them hearing from peers and other young people like themselves with messages that we are giving in a way to make them more poignant, the idea is that by the end of each of the rallies, all of the young people will take an actual pledge to commit to increasing their own personal protection."

Andrea Polanco
"So you have a particular message that you are sending out here today?"

Dr. Martin Cuellar, Executive Director of The National Aids Commission
"Yes and the message we are sending today is that we want young people to think more positively about sex because we are convince that where they think more positively then they will develop a more positive attitude and that translate to much more protection, and the second message that we are sending is we are asking young people to make sure that they develop a specific personal plan for protecting themselves against sexually transmitted infections and today here and all the rallies we are stressing that there are several ways that young people can develop this plan, it can include consistent and proper condom usage but it can certainly include abstinence or delay sexual initiation as well as serial monogamy."

The rally was designed a part of a long-term series of activities to reach out to young people across the country. The Commission says that a documentary put together from all the rallies held country wide today will be released and used in the 2011 campaign.

Channel 7