About 70% of young people in Kazakhstan demonstrated a good knowledge of HIV after UNESCO' media campaign

1 April 2020

The HIV epidemic is not yet over, and young people are still disproportionately at risk of infection. People aged 15-24 make up 16 per cent of the world's population, but represent 34 per cent of those aged 15-49 who are infected with HIV each year. 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia is one of only two regions where overall HIV prevalence has not declined in recent years. The 19,000 new HIV infections among people aged 15–24 in 2017 was only about 9 per cent smaller than the 2010 figure, as opposed to other regions where reductions up to 25 per cent have been observed. By focusing on HIV prevention and health promotion, UNESCO aims to empower young people with the knowledge, skills and values they need to maintain good health throughout their lives.

In February 2020, UNESCO Almaty, together with the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), UNAIDS and popular Kazakhstani bloggers, launched a new online information campaign in Kazakhstan to help young people learn about HIV transmission, maintain a healthy lifestyle and get rid of stereotypes and misconceptions about HIV. And this is not by accident, in fact, according to a survey conducted earlier by the UN Population Fund in Kazakhstan, about half of young people aged 15 to 19 had an episodic or regular sexual relationships. Moreover, a vast majority - 91% of them didn’t have sufficient knowledge about HIV and AIDS.

Krista Pikkat, Director of UNESCO Almaty, sums up: "This is why such information campaigns are still very important. They are instrumental for raising awareness among young people and providing information that helps them exercise safer sexual behaviour. Online campaigns and digital education are effective tools for the prevention of HIV, STIs, and adolescent pregnancy; they do not only provide knowledge, but also increase self-confidence and motivate youth to make responsible decisions."

The campaign’s five short humorous videos about existing barriers regarding sex education and prejudices surrounding HIV had about 1 million views on a variety of platforms.

Using examples of simple life situations – a father-son conversation before a party, shopping at a pharmacy, interviewing a grandmother, giving a lecture at university, and a glimpse of life around a dorm – four young bloggers in Kazakhstan in their videos encouraged young people to openly discuss with their parents the questions related to sexual relationships and practice healthy lifestyles.

This project is a logical continuation of the awareness-raising activity that UNESCO has been conducting in Kazakhstan for the second year to prevent HIV and reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Videos of the previous UNESCO campaign “No one should be left behind” with the participation of people living with HIV, media personalities and popular young viners have gained more than 2 million views on social media and the Internet and a lot of positive feedback from viewers.

This year, the campaign was launched on the occasion of International Condom Day (February 13) and Valentine's Day (February 14) to draw wider public attention. In just one month, the campaign’s three vine videos (short video on Instagram) and two YouTube videos were viewed by about 1 million people.

HIV is not a joke and requires due attention

YouTube video «Embarrassing Stories of Buying Condoms» While I was preparing for this video, I tried to understand why many of us are willing to put ourself in any awkward situations, just to avoid the word ‘condom’ - says Eldana

In this video, Eldana Satybaldieva (known as Eldana Foureyes), popular blogger, talks about HIV transmission and prevention, and where you can consultations if something unexpected happens.

Practicing safe sex and talking about this topic shouldn’t be shameful

Vine «Father and Son» Many parents are terribly shy to discuss with their grown-up children such sensitive topics as the use of condoms. Because of this, young people themselves are then shy to talk about it with their partners. There is no shame in discussing such issues and protecting yourself. That's what this vine is all about.

The story of Elmira Zhenisovna and Marat Ospanovich continues on Valentine's Day!

YouTube video «Soviet Love Story-2» Elmira Zhenisovna was trying to get the attention of her students to talk about such important things as HIV and love adversities. Charismatic Marat Ospanovich came for help as always. And while he was enthusiastically talking to the students about how important it is not to forget about the means of protection even on such a romantic day, Elmira got a crush on him…

HIV and AIDS are different things!

Vine «Correspondent» Answering the correspondent's question about what AIDS is, the granny not only impressed him with her positivity, but also helped to set the record straight on all the other issues…

You can't buy health, but you can buy condoms!

Vine «How Jumbo got rich» Jumbo reveals the secret of his business and advises using condoms to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A joke is a joke, but HIV prevention is a serious matter, because HIV can be transmitted through any unprotected sexual contact.

Preliminary results of the campaign

The campaign's videos have had about 1 million views on YouTube and Instagram. Each video was accompanied by a small survey to get feedback from viewers to see the effect of awareness raised. The majority of viewers (about 70%), who are young people aged 15 to 29 years and subscribers of involved young bloggers, showed a good knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention, as well as demonstrated a positive and non-discriminatory attitude towards people living with HIV and members of key population communities.

According to numerous comments and likes to the videos, it can be concluded that information about the prevention of HIV and other STIs is quite relevant for Kazakhstani youth.

UNESCO Almaty and UNESCO IITE are thankful to Eldana Foureyes, Hakim Mukaram, Yesentai and Almas Sagynuly for their participation in the campaign.

Related information:
#NoOneShouldBeLeftBehind: Reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV
education trasnforms lives
education for health and well-being

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/about-70-of-young-people-in-kazakhstan-demonstrated-a-good-knowledge-of-hiv-transmission