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Most-at-Risk Adolescents Study (MARA) Launched in Macedonia

MARA targets adolescents aged 10 – 19 who sell sex or engage in unprotected transactional sex, adolescents who inject drugs with non sterile equipment/non-clean needles (IDUs) and adolescent males having unprotected sex with males (MSM). Existing interventions and implemented activities in Macedonia are not corresponding to the problems identified, which affect especially adolescents and young adults. There is lack of evidence, data and information on trends on risky behavior and practices among adolescents, especially the ones categorized as most-at-risk to HIV infection. Though current HIV/AIDS interventions in the country are reaching most-at-risk populations, adolescent that are most-at-risk and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS are not being targeted in the overall country HIV/AIDS response. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the interventions among most-at-risk and vulnerable groups has not been assessed. (Universal Access Report, Ministry of Health, 2006).

The study in an attempt to define and distinguish between risk and vulnerability to HIV and STIs infection among adolescents, give an indication of their current lifestyle, social networks, relationships, and perceptions, and provide a “proof of concept”, where a central concept (in this case MARA) is validated, and it is determined whether it offers a realistic focus for any future research and interventions in Macedonia.

The research study will be carried on in the period of July – December 2006, when the final report will be released.

Contact person: Marija Tosheva
E-mail: marijat@hops.org.mk  
About HOPS
Website: www.hops.org.mk