After 22 years and President Barack Obama's 2009 announcement lifting the travel ban on people living with HIV, the International AIDS Conference returns to the U.S.! From July 22-27, more than 20,000 delegates from 200 countries will gather in D.C. to attend the International AIDS Conference, which is the premier conference for individuals working in HIV/AIDS services, advocates and policymakers, HIV-positive people and anyone invested in ending the epidemic. Aside from breakout sessions, daily plenary sessions, and professional development workshops, they also have a Youth Program.
The Youth Program aims to “strengthen the participation of youth and the profile of youth issues in the conference. This will be accomplished though activities such as a youth pavilion, an electronic youth bulletin, a youth media hub, youth presentation space, youth mentorship activities and a youth website."
Focusing on youth participation is key since youth are the most vulnerable population at risk for HIV since nearly half of all new HIV infections in the world are among people under age 25. Mobilizing youth to participate at AIDS 2012 not only brings visibility to those most impacted by HIV, but allows youth to be their own leaders in addressing lack of sexual health education, social stigmas, and lack of access to healthcare services. Having young people from around the world convene together is empowering and builds youth leadership so that they may engage their own peers to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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