At the end of November, was held the 3° encuentro de jóvenes positivos de América Latina y el Caribe (3rd positive youth meeting in Latin-American and the Caribbean). This meeting served to define the necessary aspects needed to extend the work of Latin-American young activists working in the sphere of HIV. This aspects are also needed to reduce the side effects of medicines, as well as strengthening effective polices to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
Diego Caputo, representative of Red argentina de jóvenes y adolescentes positivos (RAJAP), and also a participant of the meeting, said the following: “A significant portion of the meeting was marked by the need of implementing sexual comprehensive educational strategies in different schooling levels, giving visibility to the LGBTI groups. The achievements of the new networks of young people in countries such as Panama and the consolidation in Mexico were also highlighted. In addition, many other points were taken into account such as the need to create national youth networks in countries such as Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile and Peru”.
“(…) We have found many differences between what happens in countries of the Southern Cone in comparison with countries of Central America. However, we have also found similarities such as the low participation and involvement that we (young activists) have achieved in networks of adults with HIV”.
Similarly, this meeting highlighted other important points which include the constant and necessary contact with national HIV programs, enterprises, international organizations and all stakeholders in the sphere of HIV and AIDS. Therefore, Governments must work with young activists and listen to their proposals and emergencies, since their lives are at stake.
Without drugs enough in some countries of the region, emergencies are clear. Talk about quality of life or the reduction of side effects is a distant horizon.
“We all want to reach the 90-90-90 goals, which promotes UNAIDS. However, we need and demand universal access to medicines. We have the urgency to accompany Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Mexico, as well as to reach our colleagues from Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia, whose voice, is frequently muted”. Said Mr. Caputo.
Finally, Caputo shared the following: “we won over fear and went out to win the streets and the media. We have walked a long road, but there are aspects such as teens or young women with HIV, which need to be reinforced. Also, we need to work on gender violence and maternity”.
Definitely the work of young activists is of utmost importance, as they are who, undoubtedly, will provide hope to the region. This will not be easy and there’s still much work to be done, but with perseverance and dedication, we can succeed.