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Need to halve AIDS infection among youth by 2015

Posted on Nov 15, 07:09PM | UNI

Every day, 2400 people in the 15-24 age bracket were getting infected with HIV around the globe, representing 40 per cent of new infections.

'Getting to Zero' the theme of World AIDS Campaign echoes the UNAIDS vision of achieving 'Zero new HIV infections.

Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.' Dr R K Sood, Epidemiologist District AIDS Programme Officer said yesterday that the key goal was to halve new infections among youth by 2015 for which the AIDS control programme aims to strengthen the meaningful participation of young people.

He said in the run up to the campaign, a live discussion on FM radio was being conducted every Wednesday at AIR Dharamshala to enable young people to connect with their peers, plan strategy and maximize their ability to navigate World AIDS Campaign 2012 successfully.

The Youth Phone-in was among the main networking space for young people, sharing a collective passion about achieving this goal of 'Getting to Zero', Dr Sood said.

The phone in talk show would break the silence and taboo and open discussion to stimulate an enabling environment for the programme. It would also supplement the facebook social media platform and interpersonal communication approach, he added.

'Young people bring a fresh perspective to the HIV response, fuelled by passion and creativity. We are innovators and change-makers. Without our meaningful involvement, we will never be able to achieve our targets of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,' he added.

Earlier in the year, youth of this district had participated in UNAIDS 'Crowd Out Aids' - a youth-led policy project that used social media tools and crowd sourcing technology to enable young people from around the world to develop a set of recommendations for the UNAIDS Secretariat to work more effectively with young people in the AIDS response.

Kangra CMO Dr S P Singh said that efforts were on to empower young people. The upcoming campaign event offers the possibility to share high quality information on the latest trends in the epidemic along with an examination of youth-specific issues, challenges and needs.

'HIV Is Still Here' reflects the need for everyone to talk with family and friends about it, he added.

Under the Skills-based training on HIV, more than 200 youth were trained this year. They would become role models among the youth and further communicate with their peers to promote informed and responsible choices, Mr Singh said.