International Youth day and HIV/AIDS

As we celebrate International youth day let as remember Globally, an estimated 4.6 million young people are living with HIV. Each day, about 2300 young people are newly infected with HIV. Many young people living with HIV do not have access to treatment or do not know their HIV status. In many African countries, young people are prevented from accessing sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing and condoms, due to age-related restrictions. Even though there have been tremendous achievements in the response to the HIV epidemic for adolescents and youth but much more needs to be done. Young people are not only beneficiaries of HIV services but also play an important role as partners and leaders in the AIDS response and that’s why African youths must take center stage and reclaim their right to health as agents of positive change and be part of the decision making processes that will impact their lives, youth living with HIV/AIDs must ensure they are meaningfully engaged in all programme development.

If indeed Africa have to celebrate the international youth day then issues of youths living with HIV and empowerment are key, African government will only do Youth living with HIV proud to celebrate the international youth day if they commit to; Integrate HIV into Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services and policies, Increase access to evidence-informed prevention and treatment, Remove laws that prevent young people from accessing services, Resources for young people and HIV are allocated based on need and evidence.

To fellow African youths I have refused to celebrate you until that day you will come out of your cocoon, claim your position and advocate for the rights of youths living with HIV.