Teenagers and Young People Living with HIV/AIDS and UNICEF together for the rights to prevention, protection and participation
Manaus (State of Amazonas, Brazil), May 26 to 29 – From May 26 to 29, approximately 120 adolescents and youth living with HIV/AIDS from the four regions of Brazil from 26 to 29, met in Manaus to discuss issues of health care, education, human rights, and political advocacy and to work as a networks to stimulate the greater political participation, adherence to HIV treatment and self-care.
This is the first time the North region hosted the event. The members of the National Network of Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV (RNAJVHA) chose the city in an effort to strengthen the work of the adolescents and youth living with HIV in the region.
At the opening ceremony, the following individuals spoke: UNICEF Regional HIV/AIDS Specialist, Ms. Amy Weissman; the programs official, Mrs. Vilma Cabral; representatives from the Health Ministry, Eduardo Barbosa, from the Education Ministry; Mrs. Maria de Fátima Malheiro, from the Youth National Council; Mr. Fransergio Goulart; from the National Movement of Young Ladies with HIV Mrs. Disney Diniz; from the Amazonas State Health Care Secretariat, Mr. Noaldo Lucena; Amazonas State Social Assistance Secretariat, Mrs. Graça Prola; from the Health Care Secretariat of Manaus, Mrs. Marta Aparecida; besides the coordinator of Cedeca Amazonas-Pé na Taba, Mrs. Lucimar Weil, and Mr. José Rayan, the coordinator of RNAJVHA.
The young people want to fight for their space and guarantee the implementation of public policies. Adolescents and youth who live with HIV have the right to study, work, have a family, and access antiretroviral treatment (ART). We want to be treated as subjects to the system of law and not as victims. We are participants, we are much more than HIV/AIDS¨, stated Mr. José Rayan, the 18 year old coordinator of the event. He was enthusiastically applauded by the young people in the audience.
Ms. Amy Weissman of UNICEF, highlighted the importance of the Meeting being held in Manaus given that the North has a higher than national rate of mother-to-child transmission, and an increasing number of HIV cases among children under five years of age. "I look forward to participating in the meeting, to talking with each of you, and to learning about your needs so that we at UNICEF can collaborate with you to improve the lives of the adolescents and young people living with HIV/AIDS", said Amy.
The representative of the Ministry of Health Care, Mr. Eduardo Barbosa, emphasized that Brazil has the best AIDS program in the world because of the availability of ART. But that the country still faces many challenges. "People who live far from the capital cities, for instance, many times do not have access to ART because they do not know they have HIV/AIDS", he said.
Mr. Barbosa also highlighted that the Ministry of Health Care, in partnership with UNICEF, has provided 10 other countries with ART through the South-South Cooperation program known as Lacos Sur Sur.
"But people do not want only medicine, they also want education and other rights", he reminds participants.
For more information:
Mark Connolly, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Amy Weissman, email@example.com, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tamar Hahn, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.