Youth should be taken into account in the construction of national responses to HIV

  • December 11, 2014
  • News

campaña_contra_el_SidaThe HIV prevalence rate among the general population (15-49) in Latin America is 0.4%. We’re talking about an epidemic which is mostly concentrated in high risk populations (men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers).

Youth awareness on HIV is often low. In most of the countries with available data, less than 50% of young people know how to prevent sexual transmission of HIV. The ignorance surrounding HIV is highly concentrated in women and marginalized groups, who do not have access to current and reliable information.

More than 60% of countries still do not have effective strategies to deal with youth who have not completed their primary education.

In Latin America, the prevention, attention, care and support to young people in relation to HIV has been highlighted during recent years in national responses to the epidemic. However, there are still challenges in the production of evidence that contribute to a better understanding and relevance of the response to HIV, taking into account multiple diversities of the Latin American youth, and not as a homogeneous population only categorized by age range.

On the other hand, HIV-related stigma and discrimination are still one of the major challenges in the region, with special emphasis on the sectors of health, education and labor.

Many of these challenges are also causes and effects of the limitation of opportunities for involvement that youth has on the construction of national responses to HIV. Their needs are constantly channeled by organizations that are not even led by young people, where they do not play the active role they should, in order to make their needs known, as well as expectations and raise their own strategies without neglecting their rights.

Among the new projects led by UNAIDS is CrowdOutAIDS, which uses social media and technology, which allows young people around the world to develop a set of recommendations, so the UNAIDS secretariat can work more effectively with youth in the HIV response.

CrowdOutAIDS is the first strategic document in the history of the United Nations which has been drawn up by the massive online collaboration.

All of these recommendations and new strategies seek to awaken the desire to engage in processes of decision-making in their respective countries in order to achieve a significant response in the field of HIV that can finally meets the needs of youth.