“Young people are disproportionately affected by HIV, with adolescents being the only age group for whom AIDS-related deaths are increasing.
Despite increasing attention and interest in meaningful youth participation in the HIV response, limited investment is made into youth leadership and developing youth-led structures.
Networks of adolescents and young people living with HIV (AYPLHIV) face challenges in securing the requisite capacity, experience and resources to fulfil their mandate and contribute as equal and influential partners in the response.
Efforts to better engage AYPLHIV networks are often poorly coordinated, ad hoc, tokenistic and focused on delivery of short-term activities.
Funding of youth networks remains challenging, with many donors not trusting youth-led networks sufficiently, and raising concerns that networks have weak governance, are disorganised, and are unable to demonstrate effective representation or consultation with their constituency.
Without long-term investment in network capacity, leadership and development, youth-led structures will fail, reinforcing notions that these networks are not accountable and too risky to fund.
This is compounded by decreasing and deprioritisation of funding to the HIV response.”