World Aids Day makes for a perfect opportunity to shed light on both global and local developments in the fight against HIV. Although HIV/AIDS affect societies as a whole, it is young people who bear the greatest burden. Global estimates show that 25% of infected persons are between 10-24 years old while those age 15-24 comprise of 35% of new infections, resulting in 900,000 new infections annually. That’s why funding and measurements fighting HIV need to tackle youth-specific needs, determined by youths themselves. As an international youth organisation, we are proud to help make youth voices heard and share examples of youth-led actions against HIV. Let’s take a deeper look into the specific struggles youth face and what suggestions youth offer.
We are thrilled to pass the mic to three of our youth Country Coordinators and members who are sharing stories, struggles and best practices from Nigeria, Uganda and Pakistan.
The three stories demonstrate that the factors that put youth at risk are interrelated. High risks of HIV infections, sexual violence, poverty, lack of access to education and family planning services are not separate factors but create an environment that enables transmission and infection. When we draw the connection between the factors that make youth vulnerable, we can tackle them together and find sustainable solutions. Unfortunately, this is often not where funding goes. The global donor community divides its money by cause, which does not make sense since we don’t live one-cause lives. To understand these factors, we need to ask those affected by them: youth. By hearing youth voices and accepting their lead, we can learn how the barriers are interrelated, and what youth need to overcome them.
Check our full article out here.