By: Harshi Hettige
Every year on 1 December, we recognize World AIDS Day – a day to fight for 25 million who have died from HIV/AIDS between 1981 and 2007, and for the 33.3 million people infected with HIV around the world today. The pandemic is particularly signicant to youth–almost half of all new HIV infections in the world are among people under 25.
The global response to HIV/AIDS among young people, as a critical aspect of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, will have a major impact on their future. With this mind, the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS and Women Deliver co-hosted a Google Hangout this week with a few of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders from around the world. Lindsay Menard-Freeman from Women Deliver facilitated the conversation, Gillian Dolce from the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS moderated, and participants included Aiste Dackauskaite from the Lithuanian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Cecilia Garcia from Espolea, Humphrey Nabimanya from Reach a Hand Uganda, Yemurai Nyoni from Zimbabwe Young People's Network on SRHR, and Imene Ben Ameur from GNR MENA. Together, they shared their perspectives on HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the vital role youth can play in creating a healthier world.
The young leaders hope that one day they will not have to ask each other, “What will you do for World AIDS Day?” because the pandemic will no longer exist. Till then, every day must be treated as World AIDS Day, and serve as a reminder for us to learn more about HIV: how it is transmitted, how to prevent it, how individuals live with it today, and how to ensure that everyone living with HIV is treated with respect and understanding. By learning more, we can do more. Governments and the public must be spurred to raise crucial funds, increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education.
Here are some resources for more information on HIV/AIDS:
- Advancing the Integration of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health: Facts about Girls, Women, and HIV
- Learn about Young Africa Live – an entertainment-oriented website that also provide consumers with any information about HIV/AIDS
Here are ways to get involved in the fight to end the pandemic: