Terrence Higgins Trust is launching it’s first African and Caribbean youth project, Ajamu, to raise awareness of sexual health among young black people in Hackney, East London. The project, in partnership with City and Hackney PCT and Hackney Strategic Partnership will launch at Hackney Town Hall on Saturday 26 November, as part of the ‘Love life & everything in between’ event.

Statistics show that young people are at greater risk from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In 2003, young women accounted for 73% of all female chlamydia diagnoses and young men accounted for 55% of all male chlamydia diagnoses. Young black people are also at higher risk of contracting STIs than young white or Asian people.

Ajamu, which means ‘coming together’, will create ‘peer educators’ to communicate messages about safer-sex and relationships through a series of workshops. The Ajamu project, to continue until the end of March 2006, will provide information and advice on:

Sex and relationships
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Free condoms
HIV and STI testing
Unplanned pregnancy
Rape and sexual assault
Lesbian, gay and bisexual organisations
Youth groups, young offenders’ institutions, colleges and East London Connections will all be taking part and will refer young people to the project.

Family Affairs actress, Ebony Thomas, who is supporting the Ajamu project as part of her role as Terrence Higgins Trust’s ambassador for African and Caribbean communities said: “Sex and sexual health are so important for young people, especially teenagers. People are having sex younger, but they’re not getting the education they need. In schools today teachers aren’t always discussing the real issues around sex and relationships – it’s all about biology. I think this project will be a great way to get these issues across.”

Will Nutland, Head of Health Promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust said: “Ajamu is an important project for Terrence Higgins Trust. We need to continue to find ways to increase the sexual health of African and Caribbean young people, as we know that they are at increased risk from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections”

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