WHO: Over 100 young people from 12 countries in Africa.
WHAT: The young people will meet at a Youth Forum to share their experiences, ideas and strategies for responding to HIV/AIDS, and to reinforce their crucial role to overcoming the spiral of HIV/AIDS. The Forum will open on Saturday, 20 September at 15:00hrs at the Grand Regency Hotel. Key speakers will include Stephen Lewis, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa and a senior representative of the Kenyan Government.
At the official opening, a Youth Patch will be presented. The Youth Patch is a collection of young people’s thoughts and reflections on HIV/AIDS, written down, drawn or embroidered on patches of cloth.
Daily sessions will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) from 10:30 – 13:00hrs. The outcome of these sessions will form the basis of a Youth Declaration which will be presented at the ICASA closing ceremony on Friday, 26 September.
WHEN: During the 13th International Conference on AIDS and STDs in Africa (ICASA), 21 – 26 September 2003
Young people are at the centre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic: they are both the hardest hit by the disease and also the key to overcoming it. In many countries, 60% of new infections are among young people in the 16 to 24 age-group. Young girls are especially affected, accounting for more than two out of three new infections among the 15 to 19 year olds. Alarmingly, the so-called “window of hope” is getting smaller and smaller: surveys conducted in many countries with high HIV prevalence rates show that young boys and girls are already sexually active by age 15.
While young people see themselves very much as agents of change, they are the most disadvantaged in terms of access to resources, information and decision-making.
Their participation in ICASA will provide an opportunity to assess how realistic existing HIV programmes are and to make the case that their involvement is a necessary pre-condition for any response to be relevant and effective.
For further information, please contact:
Beatrice Karanja (254 - 722 205 482)
Victor Chinyama (254 - 722 701 505)
Madeline Eisner (254 - 722 520 595)