Revitalising the greater involvement of people living with HIV and AIDS (GIPA) for young people living with HIV (YPLHIV)
K. Osborne1, R. Fransen-dos Santos2,3, L. Collins4, J. Hopkins5
1IPPF, Operations Division, London, United Kingdom, 2International Civil Society Support, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 3Young Positives, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 4UNFPA, New York, United States, 5IPPF Central Office, Operations Division, London, United Kingdom
Issues: Whilst the GIPA principal formally came into being at the Paris AIDS Summit in 1994, it is not working for YPLHIV as they are rarely meaningfully involved. YPLHIV have a different set of needs and desires to older people living with HIV and their voices need to be heard.
Description: To give a greater voice to YPLHIV, 121 young people from local networks of PLHIV learnt the art of video making during weeklong participatory training workshops in the Dominican Republic, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Swaziland. During each workshop, YPLHIV had the opportunity to record, edit and produce their own short video testimonies to tell the world about their experiences living with HIV (both positive and negative), and the services and support they felt they needed.
Lessons learned: These videos document the experiences and desires of YPLHIV around the world, making a powerful advocacy tool for policy and programme makers alike. Striking about these videos was a commonality in talking about the following six themes: involvement, support, services, sex and relationships (including disclosure), planning families, and stigma and discrimination. Most important to YPLHIV was the opportunity to be involved in the design and implementation of programmes and policies that affect their lives. Just as important was access to non-discriminatory, accessible and affordable services which meet the particular needs of young people living with HIV.
Next steps: The number of YPLHIV is only going to grow in coming years, especially as ART means that many born with HIV are now surviving to adolescence. International efforts to meaningfully involve YPLHIV need to be scaled up. Service providers (both current and those in training) need to be better equipped to support YPLHIV and the current PLHIV community needs to find better ways of involving YPLHIV to break the back of the current 'old boys club'.
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