Monday, July 23rd, 2012 - Washington, D.C. YouthForce
Washington, D.C. – Today begins the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., the largest international gathering on a health-related issue, coming to Melbourne in 2014. The International AIDS Conference is expecting over 25,000 delegates, with over 40,000 expected to join in the conference activities.

Over 2,000 of these people will be under the age of 28. Given almost 3,500 young people aged between 15 and 24 are newly infected each day, since 2000 the YouthForce (a coalition of youth organisations from around the world) has worked to ensure that young people are featured at the centre of discussions about the future of the HIV/AIDS response globally.

This year the YouthForce has crowdsourced a ‘Declaration for Change’, where young people from across the world (over 90 different countries) participated in an online platform to select and refine the ideas that they think will best allow us to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

“With over 131 people contributing, including casting over 6,000 votes over the 3-day period, the Declaration for Change has united young people, both attending the conference and outside, to work together for global good,” says Australian medical student Hugh Stephens, Media and Advocacy chair for the Washington, D.C. YouthForce. “Given that the top 16 ideas came from 13 different people, and the top 5 ideas coming from 5 different continents, this declaration has really provided a platform for young people to advocate for a better future.”

The top 10 ideas were selected when the voting and idea submission platform was closed on Friday 20 July. The declaration (available online) includes demands such as providing access to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services, meaningful participation at all levels of decision-making and greater access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services so that the highest attainable standard of health may be achieved.

Also featured in the Declaration for Change are several key audiences who young people have identified are particularly important to achieve an AIDS-free generation. This includes young women (57% of young people with HIV are women), young people who live in rural or remote areas, young people with a disability, and young people who use drugs.

Throughout the 2012 International AIDS conference, the YouthForce is pushing policymakers, health physicians, aid organisations and other delegates to ensure that young people are at the forefront of every agenda, as young people will be inheriting the future.

For more information on YouthForce activities visit: http://www.youthaids2012.org/ and join the conversation online using #aids2012.

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Washington, D.C. YouthForce


The Washington, D.C. YouthForce is a global platform for international, regional and local youth organizations that focus on HIV and AIDS, as well as on the sexual and reproductive health and the rights of young people. Ten youth organizations are currently represented on the DC YouthForce, including Advocates for Youth, Choice for youth and sexuality, Dance4Life, Espolea, Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, GNP+, Harm Reduction Coalition, HIV Young Leaders Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, Lets Stop Aids, MSM Global Forum, XIX International Aids Conference, Y-Peer, Youth Coalition and Youth RISE.
Hugh Stephens
P: +61 3 8654 1958 / +17142705000
W: www.youthaids2012.org/2012/07/20/the-youthforce-declaration/

Keywords

sexual health, healthcare, hiv/aids, young people, youth

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