About the Melbourne Youth Force
Building the capacity of young people to drive the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. A platform for global youth participation and leadership at AIDS 2014.
It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that we welcome you to Melbourne, Australia. In July 2014, Melbourne will host the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), with an estimated 15,000 local and international health professionals, community representatives and political leaders expected to attend. AIDS 2014 will be the first International AIDS Conference in history to emphasize moving toward the end of AIDS and an HIV free generation, and we recognise that none of this can be achieved without young people’s leadership.
The Melbourne YouthForce (MYF) is a coalition of youth organizations that will work together to leverage the presence and demands of young people (ages 15-26) at AIDS 2014. The 2014 MYF will ensure that young people have a highly visible attendance at the conference, not only as delegates, but as organisers, speakers, decision makers and peers.
The MYF believes that building youth leadership is critical to building an effective AIDS response among young people and by young people, especially for key affected populations. This includes, but is not limited to, young people living with HIV, young people who use drugs, young sex workers, young men who have sex with men, young women, young migrants and youth in prisons.
Since the inception of the YouthForce, thousands of young people have participated representing over 35 international organizations and 90 different countries. The YouthForce has become an essential part of the International AIDS Conference, acting as a platform to unite young people and those who support a global agenda that places young people at the centre of the Global HIV response.
The mission of the YouthForce began at AIDS 2000 in Durban, where only 50 young people participated in a conference of thousands. In response, Advocates for Youth and Family Health International joined forces with over 40 other organizations to form the first YouthForce, focused on increasing youth participation at AIDS 2002 in Barcelona. The YouthForce promoted renewed discourse during a time when issues related to young people and HIV were missing from the conversation.
In Barcelona, the YouthForce coordinated young people from all regions of the world to run a visibility campaign entitled “Where are the Youth?” As proof of its success, in the closing ceremony, former United States President Bill Clinton highlighted the campaign as the type of advocacy effort that can bring real change to the way global decision-making about HIV/AIDS priorities are made.
The Youthforce at AIDS 2004 in Bangkok, worked with local Thai youth and conference organizers to ensure that youth programming was integrated into the main conference. As a result, organizers provided space and opportunities for the YouthForce, and more focused conference policies and programming to increase the participation of young people. In addition, the YouthForce organized the first Youth Pre-Conference to support young people’s active participation in the main conference.
After the Bangkok Conference, youth delegates came together to form an international network called the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, which continues to serve as a bridge between conferences to further key issues. At AIDS 2006 in Toronto, the YouthForce pushed the envelope once again. In addition to continuing and expanding effective programming from previous International AIDS Conferences, double the number of youth conference delegates attended the conference. The YouthForce also developed a strategic and targeted advocacy and visibility campaign, moving beyond the issue of youth participation, and creating substantive messages advocating for programming and policy changes.
At AIDS 2008, 2010 and 2012 the YouthForce continued to cement its place as an integral part of the Intern atonal AIDS Conference. The MYF at AIDS 2014 promises to be bigger and better than ever!
Subcommittee And Role
The Melbourne Youth Force sub-committees started their work in October 2013. The seven sub committees focus on and support the following areas within the AIDS 2014 Youth Programme: (each of the sub-committees consists of two Co-chairs)
- Youth Pre-Conference
- Youth Pavilion
- Youth Advocacy Messaging and Design
- Youth Media and Communications
- Youth Main Conference
- Youth Reception (and other Youth Affiliated Events)
- Sponsorship and Fundraising
This site is not operated by the International AIDS Society or Conference organizers.