Young Latin American leaders in the HIV response

  • September 1, 2014
  • News


When it comes to decision-making, in the area of HIV the opinion of young people with HIV is extremely important. It is not the first time that a specific group feels out of the decision-making process made by NGOs and governments. It is essential to get the host population involved in the decision-making process, since it is easier to fill the gap between service providers and recipients.

This is the case of a group of young members of Red de Jóvenes Positivos de América Latina y el Caribe in El Salvador, and also members of Punto Focal Nacional de REDCA+. This small group of young leaders have little by little managed to be taken into account in the decision-making process about HIV in their respective countries.

“… We are training young leaders about leadership, social audit and DS&DR through the support of the HIV young Leaders Fund, UNFPA and REDCA+. We are also making home visits and peer support in alliance with comprehensive hospitals that work for people with HIV, in which trained young people who will support other young people with adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Similarly, we are taking action against stigma and discrimination in the family of LGBTI youth, creating a group of parents committed to the respect of Human Rights …” Said Joel Barrera, members of the two organizations mentioned above.

It is thanks to these actions that now young leaders such as Joel, feel part of the decisions made for the services they receive. Young people are the active future of our society and their opinion is more than important when we want to achieve social transformation.

On the other hand, young members of these organizations held a workshop from the 11th to 13th of August in the city of San Salvador, whose goal was to improve the capacity to influence or advocate for young leaders to demand comprehensive policies and programs for prevention and care of HIV. In addition, emphasis was put on the establishment and operation of strategic alliances for policy changes and changes in existing prevention programs.

The workshop, which lasted three days, consisted of short presentations, discussions, hands-on exercises, case studies, and many more activities. The opening of the workshop was conducted by David Morales, Human Rights Attorney; by Iancu Cordescu, Secretary of Red LAC de jóvenes positivos; Lícida Baptist, Regional HIV and AIDS Advisor of UNFPA; and Elena Zúñiga, Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in El Salvador. All these activities were led by the Red Latinoamericana de Jóvenes Positivos and were supported by the United Nations
Population Fund.

The three-day conference was an unprecedented success. These positive results are evidence that young people are agents of change capable of achieving significant social transformations.