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World AIDS Day in Kenya: Saving Lives, Inspiring Activists

by Urooj Arshad, Asociate Director, International Youth Health and Rights

This past June, I had the incredible privilege of visiting Kisumu, Kenya to work with MAAYGO (Men Against AIDS Youth Group), an organization that Advocates for Youth is partnering with under its International LGBTQ+ Youth Health and Rights Program. MAAYGO seeks to inspire and motivate LGBTQ youth to plan and coordinate activities to create a stronger and healthier community for them, where effective participation in agenda for safer sex and sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, economic development, becomes a mutually accepted norm at community level.

MAAYGO’s work literally saves lives. To commemorate World AIDS Day, I wanted to highlight some stories of young people who have been impacted by MAAYGOs work to combat stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ+ youth.

Fred’s story:

"My name is Fred Ochieng, I am gay and living with HIV which I have had since birth. I face the double stigma and of being gay and HIV positive. For a while, I was in a state of denial and hated myself, but four years ago I was referred by a friend to attend an event organized by MAAYGO where I met MAAYGO’s staff and started networking with them. I re-tested for HIV and then started on treatment. I am also working through self-stigma and can now feel comfortable with who I am. I now live positively through taking my treatment and continue to attend MAAYGO’s peer sessions and support group."

On World AIDS Day, We Recommit to Prioritizing Young People

By Sonya Laddon Rahders, J.D., Law Students for Reproductive Justice Law & Policy Fellow at Advocates for Youth.

In July 2015, the White House released a new National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Thanks to coordinated advocacy efforts, the Strategy for the first time prioritized young people, furthering our goal of reaching an AIDS-free generation. Today, they will release the Implementation Plan that outlines just how these goals will be achieved. But what does that mean for young people moving forward? What does it mean for our communities? Here, we take a brief look at what it took to get here, and what it means for the future. And to honor World AIDS Day, we recommit to prioritizing young people in HIV and AIDS responses.


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