Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Trekking and Trending Tuesday

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day – April 10

In an Advocate for Youth posting, in regards to National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, eht group cites that "today's young people are the first generation that has never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, almost 40 percent of new HIV infections are young people ages 13 to 29. Despite this harsh reality, young people and their allies are determined to end this pandemic once and for all." Unfortunately locally this doesn't appear to have a priority despite continuing cases of new infection among the state's youth.

However this platform still calls to action that this health dilemma although now overshadowed by other equality issues must not fall to the margins. Case in point, even as the this awareness day arrives, little to no programming or activities have been announced unlike last months Kick Butts Day in regards to smoking cessation which stepped off with mini rally, T-shirts, & other incentives for participants.  Added to this complexity is the fact that efforts to contract with local group Pride Corp as a Community Connector failed to materialize due to time constraints. The Community Connector initiative was designed as another outreach, awareness, linkage to care component in which PC was to have direct access to its youth base. To date their has been no decision as to how the allocated funding for this purpose will be reallocated. 

COP 24/7 is the only Arkansas entity listed as an ongoing signed supporter to the Advocates for Youth website and its mission to champion efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health. We are proud again this year to share their vision of "a society that views sexuality as normal and healthy and treats young people as a valuable resource." 

It’s more important than ever to recommit to the fight against HIV and AIDS. We must continue to invest in scientific advancements like a vaccine and a cure - without forgetting the importance of prevention strategies and ensuring equal access to information and healthcare for everyone.
And most importantly, we must invest in young people  - bring them to the table not only as partners, but as leaders that can truly turn the tide of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Only by fully investing in young people - in their health, their education, and their leadership - can we reach an AIDS-free generation.

Op-ed: The Slow Death of Gay Gathering Places May Be Aiding HIV

Social isolation among LGBT elders may be contributing to new HIV infections, but community building can slow the advance.



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