Organizations such as the Egyptian Family Planning Association (EFPA) are reaching out to young people. EFPA provides the sexual heath and family planning services that young Egyptians are often unable or too scared to ask for:
‘As a young man in Egypt I had never discussed HIV. After attending a seminar about it, I suddenly realized that my past sexual behaviour may have put me at risk. I desperately wanted to know my HIV status but at the same time I was afraid.
Some friends told me about a youth seminar that EFPA was holding at my school. They said it would be fun, so I decided to go.
At the seminar EFPA gave us information on HIV prevention and transmission. I didn’t know anything about HIV and was terrified because I hadn’t thought about it before and I’d had unprotected sex. Immediately after the session I decided to ask one of the young peer educators some questions because I was very anxious and needed answers.
I didn’t want to ask directly so I asked on ‘behalf of a friend’. When he finished answering the questions, he smiled and said “Tell your friend to come to the youth friendly corner at the clinic where he can ask questions and receive counselling and testing for HIV if he wants to. It is done in privacy and total confidentiality.”
After agonizing about it, I took the decision to visit the clinic.
When I arrived I saw the young peer educator from the seminar there. I told him that my friend wanted more information, but he refuses to come himself. We went to the information corner together. It was easy to talk to him and I suddenly forgot that I was asking these questions on behalf of my friend. I confided in him about all the unsafe sexual behaviours I’d practised. He told me about what I could do to find out my HIV status. At the end of the meeting I decided to have an HIV test. I was very scared until I had the post-test counselling.
When I received the test results, they were negative. I was very relieved but also very glad that I had been tested as I understand a lot more about HIV. I now know about the risk of unprotected sex and have decided to always protect myself in future. I’ve also told all my friends about the EFPA clinic. It is a place where you can confidentially talk about your sex life, get some good advice and services.’
This is one of the twenty-four, real-life stories highlighting how IPPF's work is having a real impact in the lives of people around the world. 'In A Life' is available at: http://www.ippf.org/en/Resources/Reports-reviews/In+a+life+2010.htm