Posts Tagged 'BYF'

“Empowering People, Strengthening Networks” — 9th ICAAP opens

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Hj. Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has officially opened the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), which this year takes place in Bali, Indonesia from 9-13 August under the theme “Empowering people, strengthening networks”.

At the opening ceremony, Mr JVR Prasada Rao, Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Asia and the Pacific, has delivered a speech on behalf of UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé calling for the establishment of enabling environments and supportive social norms necessary to deliver a future generation free of HIV.

The Congress has drawn thousands of people together for five days of discussion around the AIDS response in the Pacific and across Asia. Together they will discuss a wide range of issues and contexts for the AIDS epidemic in these regions including mobility and migration, injecting drug use, human rights as well as gender.

According to Mr Rao “There will be evidence-based discussion on whether Universal Access can be an achievable goal by 2010 for many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Every facet of the epidemic and the region’s responses are featured in the wide array of session and activities.”

IMr Rao continued, “What is really impressive is that the conference will showcase the immense progress made by community groups, working together and in partnership with government and other partners, in spearheading the response in many countries in the Asia Pacific region.”

Congress Programme

The event, which takes place every two years, is broad in scope as it includes 24 symposia, 32 skills-building workshops, and 75 satellite meetings. Some 349 abstracts have been accepted by the programme committee for 64 sessions of oral presentations, and 1932 abstracts accepted for poster presentations. The other main goals of the event are to empower individuals and strengthen networks in the regions to effectively respond to AIDS.

Young people and women

The Bali Youth Force (BYF), a coalition of youth networks and organizations that has collective representation in all Asia & Pacific countries, encouraged significant youth participation in the 9th ICAAP.

UNAIDS Secretariat and its Cosponsors will participate and lead a wide number of events including the launch of a new report, HIV Transmission in Intimate Partner Relationships in Asia, that highlights the increased risk of HIV infection by women engaged in long-term relationships.

HIV epidemic in Asia and Pacific

According to the Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia (2008), AIDS remains the most likely cause of death and loss of work days among people aged 15 to 44.

ICAAP9 - 3An estimated 5 million people in Asia were living with HIV in 2007 according to 2008 report on the global AIDS epidemic. The several modes of HIV transmission present in the region, via sex work, injecting drug use, and unprotected sex between men; make Asia’s epidemic one of the most diverse in the world. The Pacific region’s epidemics are relatively small with an estimated 74 000 people living with HIV across Oceania in 2007.


ICAAP 9 – Youth Statement by the Bali Youth Force

Bali Youth Force is an integrated alliance of local and international youth organizations and young people from Asia and the Pacific coming together to collectively advocate for the rights of Young People at the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. It is a united team of a diverse region.

The following recommendations are a compilation of the outcome of a month long online consultation with more than 50 Young people across Asia and the Pacific, as well as the experiences and inputs of over 130 youth delegates at the two day Youth Pre Congress.

1. Achieve meaningful youth participation

All young people have the right to meaningfully participate in programmes and policy making processes that affect their lives. Several international documents such as the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS, Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action, the Beijing Platform for Action as well as the Millennium Development Goals recognize and endorse this. Our governments have committed to implement the provisions in these documents.

Decision-makers must:

  • Institutionalize youth-adult partnerships in all local, national and international processes
  • Ensure democratic processes for youth participation to have leadership role in developing, implementing and monitoring programmes and policies
  • Ensure capacity-building for young people to access and engage effectively with policy processes

2. Strengthen financial commitments for youth-led and youth-serving initiatives

Youth-led organizations and groups have demonstrated a positive impact at international, national and local levels in responding to HIV and AIDS. Governments and donors must:

  • Increase long-term funding for youth-led and youth-run initiatives
  • Ensure adequate resources for operational and programme costs for sustainability
  • Ensure youth access to existing funding mechanisms, making them youth-friendly

3. Mainstream Human Rights in the HIV and AIDS response for ALL young people

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all people have the fundamental right to life, health, livelihood and dignity. These rights need to be respected, protected and fulfilled for all young people, including but not limited to:

  • Girls and young women
  • Orphans, street children and other vulnerable young people
  • Young people who inject or use drugs
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer young people
  • Young sex workers
  • Young people in juvenile homes and prisons
  • Young people living or born with HIV
  • Young people living with disability

Human Rights Principles must be applied to all components of the HIV response from prevention and testing to treatment, care and support for all young people without discrimination.

4. Fulfill young people’s sexual and reproductive rights

Governments must respect, protect and fulfill young people’s sexual and reproductive rights, including but not limited to:

  • The right to comprehensive sexuality education which enables young people to make informed decisions about their lives
  • The right to comprehensive and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, especially condoms, contraceptives, safe abortion, emergency contraception, management / treatment for sexually transmitted infections, voluntary counseling and testing for HIV
  • The right to express and enjoy their sexuality

5. Eliminate stigma and discrimination against young people (esp. marginalized young people)

Stigma is an obstacle for effective HIV prevention, testing, treatment, care and support for all young people. Universal access cannot be achieved without eliminating stigma and taking affirmative action. Young people living with HIV and other young people from key populations face layered stigma, thus increasing vulnerability. Governments and decision-makers must:

  • Develop , enforce and monitor comprehensive anti-discriminatory laws and policies in partnership with communities
  • Ensure adequate capacity-building and earmarked funding within all programmes for addressing stigma and discrimination

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