Sexually Transmitted Disease Ranks As Top Issue In Laos

The problem of sexually transmitted infection is rated among the top issues at the Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development when it comes to evaluating the increased numbers of people who visit the centre to receive advice and treatment, a director has said.

“This type of infectious disease is ranked amongst the top of the issues young people have when they come to use the services at the centre, so we initially want to focus on teaching courses for these youngsters from the seven districts of Vientiane,” Director of the centre, Ms Dalayvanh Keonakhone told Vientiane Times yesterday.

According to Ms Dalayvanh, the course aims to provide young people with information and advice on sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive health and other relevant issues which they will then be able to pass on to their friends and others who come to them for advice.

“This year only two courses are being conducted and because we are nearly half way through the year we have so far managed to instruct only 50 people, both men and women,” she said.

Last year, the centre was able to instruct more than 100 people and almost all of them were students at colleges, universities and other educational institutes.

“We will also organise activities to provide factory workers with advice on health issues related to sexually transmitted diseases, drug issues and other matters of concern,” Ms Dalayvanh said.

“More than 100 volunteers from the Teachers’ Training College in Savannakhet province were trained, so they can be helpful in spreading the message of the negative impact of sexually transmitted infections in their provinces,” Ms Dalayvanh said.

“Last week, we also organised a training course for young people from four districts in Vientiane to mark the International Day against Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, which is held annually on June 26,” she said.

The Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development is under the direction of the Vientiane Women’s Union and provides suggestions and advice on health issues through its hotline at (021) 252 887 or (020) 22232484. The callers are mainly young people seeking advice on health issues. A female caller can get this from medical staff at the centre via extension 1361 and a male caller can get the same through extension 137.

Working hours are from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-7pm.

“We also broadcast a radio consultation programme on 105.5 MHz from 4-5pm daily. On each programme we discuss different subjects but mostly they are related to the health issues that young people face,” Ms Dalayvanh added.

The hotline service has been run by the centre since 2007 to provide young people with advice on reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, drug issues and other concerns.

published with the permisson of Vientiane Times