SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – An LGBT group including adolescent members has released a guidebook on HIV and AIDS as the number of teenagers suffering from the condition continues to rise.
The guidebook ‘Key to 20 Answers’ published by South Korean LGBT group DDingDong outlines 20 major questions concerning both HIV and AIDS and answers them in detail, the group said on Sunday.
Writers behind the guidebook say the making of the book came about to address the lack of knowledge and awareness about the virus and its syndrome, which is leaving many teenagers suffering in silence.
The release comes as the number of teenage AIDs patients nearly quadrupled between 2007 and 2016 in South Korea, from 99 to 417, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention KCDC).
However, experts warn the actual figure is much higher as many patients hide their infection.
The product of a collaboration of 32 teenage members of the LGBT community and medical experts, the book talks about causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of HIV and AIDS in terms understandable to teenagers.
“Everyone can contract HIV through unsafe sex. Emphasis on virginity instead of teaching safe sex is restricting access to information, and putting more people at risk for HIV as a result,” the book says.
The book also suggests better ways to be considerate to HIV patients, recommending that people avoid asking direct questions like where they got the infection and instead show support and thank them for sharing the information.
HIV, a virus that can develop into AIDS, weakens the immune system and raises the risk of disease, and is sometimes associated with sexual minorities in part due to the American AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, during which many patients were gay males. This association is often prevalent in developed countries with higher levels of sexual prejudice, such as South Korea.
While HIV and AIDS patients still face discrimination in South Korea, the group argues a lack of access to condoms and other contraceptive devices is putting young people in danger.
The online version of the guidebook can be downloaded from ddingdong.kr, DDingDong’s official website.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)