This article was written by LetsStopAIDS for the AIDS 2022 Youth Force.
In an increasingly busy world, it can be difficult to get crucial messages across. The challenge can be even greater for young people, who are bombarded with information from all directions – online, at home, at school, with friends. Added is a lack of proper education around HIV and STIs in schools.
IAS – the International AIDS Society – and LetsStopAIDS are pleased to announce a partnership for AIDS 2022, the 24th International AIDS Conference, to promote strategies and programmes for the prevention and treatment of HIV to ultimately end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.
“We welcome this partnership with LetStopAIDS,” IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman said. “Young people are not just one of the most HIV-affected populations globally; they are also the future of the HIV response. Yet they are so often neglected in programmes and decision making. We look forward to working together to change that.”
Together, LetsStopAIDS and the IAS are taking creative approaches to address the concerns and interests of young people in Canada and around the world.
LetsStopAIDS is Canada’s largest youth HIV charity. At AIDS 2022 in Montreal, LetsStopAIDS is responsible for leading the Youth Force, an inclusive and independent network that provides a platform for young people to express concerns, advocate and network. The Youth Force creates a unified global voice to elevate issues that may not otherwise get attention.
“Hearing new ideas from young people is key to formulating fresh, relevant strategies for ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic” Shamin Mohamed Jr, founder and President of LetsStopAIDS, said. “Today’s leaders need to invite youth to the table and hear their perspectives. The young voices of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Getting different generations of HIV/AIDS advocates together at such a major event will help create a unified voice and foster global, intergenerational cooperation.”
The Youth Force is made up of several working groups, each led by a Canadian co-chair and an international co-chair. These working groups are responsible for organizing a youth pre-conference, developing a programme of youth activities to be held in the Youth Pavilion in the Global Village, and advocating for young people at the conference and beyond.
For Tatiana Goulart, the LetsStopAIDS National Manager, the partnership with the IAS is an opportunity to strengthen youth empowerment for more than 6,000 young people expected at AIDS 2022. “Managing the Montreal Youth Force team has been a rewarding experience and an amazing opportunity to demonstrate the work of our Canadian youth and listen to the needs of young people worldwide, representing youth in all its diversity,” Goulart said.
More than 90% of invited organizations have accepted the challenge to be part of the YouthForce.
“We’re optimistic that the Youth Force will spur engagement with young people and help spread the message about the importance of HIV prevention and education,” Mohamed Jr said.
Since 2004, the International AIDS Society has held a Youth Force annually at each of its International AIDS Conferences.
For more information on Youth Force and LetsStopAIDS, visit www.letsstopaids.org.
“We welcome this partnership with LetStopAIDS. Young people are not just one of the most HIV-affected populations globally; they are also the future of the HIV response. Yet they are so often neglected in programmes and decision making. We look forward to working together to change that.” – Adeeba Kamarulzaman, IAS President and AIDS 2022 International Co-Chair