Supported by the Global Fund, The International Organization for Migration (IOM) implemented community-based and youth-focused HIV prevention programs in Somalia. Little was known about the HIV vulnerability of Somali youth aged 15-24, and a baseline study was conducted on the sexual behaviors, knowledge and practice of youth to assess their HIV vulnerability.
The study carried out a survey in high-risk zones in Somalia targeting unmarried male and female youth aged 15-24. The survey collected quantitative and qualitative data, and measured indicators from the United Nations General Assembly on Special Session on HIV and AIDS (UNGASS) and the Strategic Framework for the Somali AIDS Response (2009-2013).
The findings of the survey revealed that the proportion of youth who had an HIV test in the last 12 months and knew their result was less than 10% overall. A sizeable proportion of youth hold beliefs that are potentially harmful, the most common being that female circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV transmission. This study shows that risk behavior is not generalized amongst Somali youth. HIV activities should focus on ensuring youth are provided with sufficient skills and knowledge to protect themselves when they become sexually active.