+Youth leading change
Pact Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Issue: Young people living with HIV/AIDS in Brazil today represent the first generation born after the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the country two decades ago. The social movement which helped bring treatment and care to the population needs to be revitalized with a focus on youth leadership for improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. In this context, USAID/Brazil, the Brazilian STD/AIDS Program, Pact Brazil and the UN agencies have developed a leadership training program for young people living with HIV/AIDS throughout Brazil, with the goal of enabling these young people to better engage in the Brazilian response to combat the AIDS epidemic.
Description: The 11-months hands-on training program introduces young people aged 16 to 24 in situations of social vulnerability into the political HIV/AIDS arena in the country, in addition to providing them their first formal job experience. The training program focuses on three areas key for HIV/AIDS advocacy: decision-making processes in governmental and non-governmental organizations; provision of health services, and local HIV/AIDS prevention and care. This is a pioneering initiative in Brazil for young people in terms of their leadership in HIV/AIDS and introducing them into the professional market.
Lessons learned: These youth have grown up in the context of major changes in the country with improvement of quality of care; struggle against stigma and discrimination, and the adoption of new technologies for treatment and prevention. There is a demand for new leaders, especially the inclusion of youth in combating the epidemic. The youth involved in the program to date have been engaged in local decision-making and governance activities.
Next steps: By the end of 2010, the expectation is that this training program will have ensured sound youth participation in HIV/AIDS advocacy at the local and national levels.
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