Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Open Rainbow Spaces

National Youth HIV + AIDS Awareness Day

Editors Note: COP 24/7 applauds the creation of a National Youth HIV + AIDS Awareness Day and joined the movement by signing on to the petition presented to President Obama. As this health dilemma surges past the 30 year marker, its vital that all means necessary be scaled up to engage youth activist to take the lead in informing, advocating, empowering and demanding a response from our public health systems and or policy makers on addressing the multi-level needs of our youth. On a local front, COP 24/7 encourages our movers and shakers to duly understand the impact that HIV and AIDS is having among individuals 18-24, especially young gay black men whom are being disproportionately affected. It is our desire that in 2014 a more notable response to this day be evident as well as recognized by local health officals.

At AIDS 2012, the international AIDS conference, youth advocates announced the inauguration of National Youth HIV + AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) to be marked on April 10, 2013.
In establishing this observance, Advocates for Youth and the eleven other founding partners are recognizing the key role of youth in our collective response to HIV. The organizers note that “the creation of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is a step toward addressing the needs of young people in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”
On this day, calls attention to previously published resources that can help inform discussion and action. These are:
On November 27, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data to highlight the impact of HIV among youth in the United States. Young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent more than a quarter of new HIV infections each year (26 percent) and most of these youth living with HIV (60 percent) are unaware they are infected, according to the Vital Signs report. The most-affected young people are young gay and bisexual men and African-Americans, the report says. Among the recommendations in the report is that “all youth should know how HIV is transmitted and prevented, understand what puts them at risk for HIV, and be tested if they are at risk.”
This is the nation’s first-ever comprehensive coordinated HIV/AIDS roadmap with clear and measurable targets to be achieved by 2015. The Strategy notes that “To better educate the American people about HIV/AIDS, the following is needed: [3.2] Promote age-appropriate HIV and STI prevention education for all Americans: Too many Americans do not have the basic facts about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Sustained and reinforcing education is needed to effectively encourage people across the age span to take steps to reduce their risk for infection.”
How are you addressing the impact of HIV on youth? What would you like to say to the young people in your lives about youth and HIV? For more information on HIV and youth, visit this CDC page. For more information on NYHAAD click here.

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