On Thursday, August 7th, 200 young people ages 16-27 from Asia and the Pacific will gather in Bali for a 2-day meeting prior to the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP IX). The Youth Forum, organized in part by IWHC’s youth partners, have selected the theme “Meaningful and active youth participation to robust youth leadership on SRH issues among Asia and the Pacific region.” The pre-conference meeting aims at preparing young people to effectively navigate and actively participate in all of ICAAP activities while ensuring that young peoples’ voices are heard and taken seriously by those in position to affect change. The Youth Pre-ICAAP meeting will be an excellent space to promote joint-learning, strengthen partnerships, increase youth’s involvement in decision making, and for young activists to develop effective strategies to advocate for their health and rights during the ICAAP and beyond. The Youth Program is part of the Community Forum and with support from IWHC and other donors, including the UNFPA, will develop activities prior and during the Congress geared towards building and empower young people.
The 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific will bring people from various backgrounds in Asia and the Pacific regions to meet and share knowledge, skills, ideas, research findings related to HIV and AIDS. Historically, young people from Asia have had limited participation at the this biannual event. However, over the past two years youth activists from Asia and the Pacific concerned with the number of young people living with HIV and AIDS (2007 estimated 1.3 million young people were living with the disease in Asia and the Pacific), began to intensify their efforts to develop a collective mechanism to ensure that young people SRRH needs and issues are being addressed at high level meetings, such as the ICAAP and the upcoming Asia and Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (October in China).
For the next two weeks, IWHC staff member Marisa Viana-Aitchison, Program Associate, Asia and Latin America Programs, will be working with five of IWHC’s youth partners, as well as other youth advocates from the region to hold the Pre-ICAAP youth meeting. At the Youth Forum, we will develop strategies to effectively advocate for youth’s SRRH during the Congress. Stay tuned for on site updates!