In the following section you will find information on campaigning activities from youth groups at an international, regional and national level.
Prateek Suman is a member of the Youth Coalition and the youth representative on the WAC Global Steering Committee. For more information about the Youth Coalition, please go to www.youthcoalition.org.
"Our response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic will determine how we are judged by future generations and history itself. Will we be known as those who watched in denial and made false promises as more than 6,000 young people got infected each passing day? Or will we be remembered as those who kept their promises and provided young people the information, education, skills and services they needed to protect themselves from infection and the services, treatment, care and support they needed to live with it? The decision is ours -and the time to make it is NOW! Stop AIDS. Keep the promise."
No young people alive today have ever lived in a world without AIDS - an epidemic that was identified 25 years ago. Many of the studies conducted around the prevalence and spread of the HIV virus identify people in the 15-24 age group as those most at risk of being infected.
Poverty, gender inequality and violence against women, lack of education, war and conflict, unemployment, homophobia, and stigma and discrimination work together to increase young people's vulnerability to infection. Without addressing the root causes and inequalities that put young people at risk, HIV/AIDS will continue to spread.
In the face of such reality, it would be easy to be pessimistic, but young people, for the most part, are naturally optimistic and ready to accept what may (to older generations) appear daunting challenges.
Research shows that young people are best positioned to promote behaviour change amongst their peers. And young people in countries around the world are showing enormous creativity when it comes to generating ideas which get the message that ‘prevention is better than cure’ across, and formulating strategies that reach out to their age group.
To read more, please see Youth in Action on WAD