Youth and HIV: Mainstreaming a three-lens approach to youth participation

PATA Youth and HIV: Mainstreaming a three-lens approach to youth participation

“The world is home to more young people (ages 15-24 years old) now than at any other time in history. Simultaneously, the world committed for the first time in 2015 to a universal agenda for sustainable development of unprecedented ambition – including Target 3.3. to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. But the global community will never deliver on ending AIDS if young people are not fully engaged and in the lead. Young people are the most effective engine for social change.

To end AIDS by 2030 requires that the root causes that put young people at risk of new HIV infections, poor health outcomes and AIDS-related deaths, including gender-related, socioeconomic and other inequalities, limited access to information, discrimination, exclusion and violence, are effectively addressed.

To tackle these persisting barriers, more efforts are needed to challenge harmful laws, policies and practices that negatively impact young people’s access to services, including age and spousal consent requirements, early and forced marriage, lack of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), lack of harm reduction services and criminalization against young key populations. In addition, support for youth participation in decision-making spaces must shift from tokenism to meaningful youth engagement, and youth participation in community responses to HIV must be acknowledged, nurtured and adequately resourced.”