‘‘Young people are the key in the fight against AIDS. By giving them the support they need, we can empower them to protect themselves against the virus. By giving them honest and straightforward information, we can break the circle of silence across all society. By creating effective campaigns for education and prevention, we can turn young people’s enthusiasm, drive and dreams for the future into powerful tools for tackling the epidemic.’’ —Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary
Every day 2,500 young people are infected with HIV. In fact, almost one quarter of all people living with HIV are less than 25 years old. Young people remain at the center of the HIV epidemic in terms of rates of infection, vulnerability, impact, and potential for change. Nearly half of all new HIV infections occur among young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Ninety-seven percent of these new infections occur in low- and middle-income countries, where young people have limited access to HIV information and care.
These daunting statistics highlight the need for effective HIV prevention programs among young people. When young people are provided with effective prevention strategies and adequate knowledge of HIV risks, they can change their behavior and reduce their vulnerability. There are many effective services and programs that have successfully increased prevention knowledge and encouraged young people to make positive behavior changes. We want to highlight such programs, and we are looking to our readers for help.
On behalf of the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on HIV and Young People, FHI 360 is putting out a call for programs or interventions that illustrate best practices in HIV interventions for young people. Submissions will be assessed by a team of experts. Those that most compellingly illustrate best practices will be included as a case study in a UN publication and disseminated globally. Please visit our Web site for more information on how to submit your program for consideration as a best practice today!