16th July 2014
As the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) draws closer, young people from around the world are preparing to gather in Melbourne to form the Melbourne Youth Force (MYF) for the chance to have their voice heard by global leaders on an issue close to their hearts.
Globally, young people are disproportionately affected by HIV. Young people aged 15 – 24 years account for 39 percent of new adult HIV infections, with 2,100 new infections every day among young people around the world. This means that HIV is still the second largest killer of young people 10 – 19 worldwide, and the largest killer of young people in Africa.
With the problem so large, it might be difficult to know just what can be done. ‘It’s pretty easy’ says Kaushi Kogar, Melbourne Youth Force member, ‘treat all people, respect all rights – it’s how we’ll end HIV’.
This is what these young people are calling for as global leaders, scientists and community workers prepare to converge in Melbourne from July 20th to 25th to discuss and strategize the way forward – stepping up the pace to end HIV. AIDS2014 will be the first International AIDS Conference in history to emphasize moving toward an HIV free generation and the end of AIDS. The MYF recognises that none of this can be achieved without young people’s leadership.
‘It’s about making sure that young people have access to affordable HIV and AIDS drugs, that we’re supported by laws that protect youth and recognise our right to the highest attainable health and ensuring that young people are provided with sexual education that isn’t afraid to tell them about prevention, treatment and testing of HIV’ says Kaushi ‘but it’s also about love, removing the stigma and discrimination that is still associated with HIV’.
The MYF has produced a video to help spread the message far and wide.
For more information about the Melbourne Youth Force, young people and issues of HIV or for comment, please contact Karen Salter, firstname.lastname@example.org and 0432 862 304, Alex Mindel, email@example.com and 0412804730