Advocates for Youth Pushes for Commitments to Adolescents and Young People at the High Level Meeting on Ending HIV
This week, the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Ending HIV (HLM) will be convening in New York, a key moment to review progress made and pave the way forward to ensure we end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Significant progress has been made towards developing and implementing concrete strategies to end the AIDS epidemic, yet more work needs to be done and complacency is not an option. While the number of people who are newly infected with HIV is declining in most parts of the world, young people ages 15-24 still represent 30 percent of new HIV infections and adolescents ages 10-19 constitute the only age group for which AIDS-related deaths increased between 2005 and 2012. [1,2,3]
Advocates for Youth will be actively engaged in the HLM in New York this week, working in partnership with other civil society organizations to advocate for bold commitments that will propel us forward to end AIDS and not undermine the remarkable progress that many have worked so hard to achieve.
Advocates for Youth calls on Member States to acknowledge and renew global commitments to an HIV response that supports all adolescents and young people worldwide. In particular, we ask Member States to:
- Prioritize adolescents and young people in the HIV response by championing ambitious treatment and prevention targets;
- Focus on the needs of young people within vulnerable populations, including sex workers and men who have sex with men;
- Recognize the need for evidence and rights-based programming, which engages young people and is tailored to local needs, including comprehensive sexuality education and access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services, including condoms;
- Address laws and policies that hamper adolescents and young people’s access to prevention and treatment, commodities, and services, including criminalization of same-sex conduct, restrictive policies regarding age of consent, and parental consent laws.
In addition, Advocates for Youth expresses deep disappoint and concern by the exclusion of a significant number of civil society organizations representing populations most directly affected by HIV, which were originally accredited to attend the HLM. The UNAIDS ‘Fast Track’ Strategy sets ambitious targets for key populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people and prisoners, as well as migrants. The purposeful exclusion of organizations representing key populations is unacceptable. We call upon the co-facilitators of the HLM, Her Excellency Dr. Patricia Mwaba Kasese-Bota, Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations, and His Excellency Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, to ensure that their voices and needs are being heard and addressed in this global forum.
Throughout the week, follow the progress of the HLM and share our messages on social media using the hashtag #HLMAIDS2016 & #HLM2016AIDSYouth.
 UNAIDS. The GAP Report, 2014. Accessed June 7, 2016 from http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/en/media/un-aids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2014/ UNAIDS_Gap_report_en.pdf
 UNAIDS. 2015 Epidemiological slides – How AIDS Changed Everything report; 2015.Accessed June 7, 2016 from http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/HowAIDSchangedeverything/slides
 Idel, P. et al. “Epidemiology of HIV and AIDS among Ado¬lescents: Current Status, Inequities, and Data Gaps.”Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. 66, Supplement 2 (2014).