Young people in Honiara can now access improved STI and HIV services at the Rove and Kukum clinics run by Honiara City Council.

Over the past six months eighteen Registered Nurses and Nurses Aids attended training run by Save the Children's HIV Prevention Program regarding adolescent health and the guiding principles of youth friendly HIV and STI services.

Save the Children is running this project with the support from AusAID.

Both clinics now have qualified Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing (VCCT) staff and private, comfortable rooms in which to conduct the counseling of confidential health matters of young people.

These services can be accessed every day (except Wednesday) from 1- 4:30 pm at Rove and at the same times on Monday and Tuesday and all day Thursday at Kukum. Further, a referral card system has also been developed to reduce waiting times, improve privacy and increase the numbers of youths accessing the services.

Two nurses from Save the Children, Beretia Andrews and Naomi Pearce, will continue to work with the clinics in a hands-on capacity to share their skills with staff and maintain a quality level of service.

Speaking at the opening of the clinics yesterday, Dr. Henry Kako said his staff's happy to have been selected to be a part of the Youth Friendly Services Program.

"... we can make the public aware of the services being offered, thank Save the Children for their assistance and get the attention of those not using these services, especially in regards to reproductive health."

New signs, designed and painted by youth volunteers of Save the Children's HIV prevention program, were also unveiled and the crowd in attendance appreciated their efforts.

"We are very happy to support clinics who want to provide youth friendly STI and HIV services to young people in Honiara and this kind of support will be expanded to other provinces soon. It will assist us in preventing HIV transmission especially among young people," Mr. Ramesh Puri, Country Program Director of Save the Children said.