||Aram Barra [ profile ]
Young People ‘Leading the HIV Prevention Revolution’ Ask Adults to Now Make It Happen!
Mar 22nd, 2011 - 13:48:59
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*You may download the original press release in English (
http://scr.bi/hZ9jgm) or Spanish (http://scr.bi/iftLnF)*
*After the successful participation of over 300 young at the XVIII
International AIDS Conference held in July 2010, UNAIDS now launches its
Getting to Zero strategy. The document calls for zero new infections amongst
people who use drugs, which while ambitious, seems impossible without the
required associated services and the decriminalization of young drug users.*
*22 March, 2011, Vienna, Austria.-** *UNAIDS aims to ensure All new HIV
infections are prevented among people who use drugs by 2015 in their
recently released *Getting to Zero *strategy. While the UNAIDS strategy vows
to revolutionize prevention, young people from all around the world
*the prevention revolution and call on the international community to
increase pressure and *Make It Happen*!
Zero infections will not be achieved if Member States, who are this week
present at the 54th Session Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United
Nations, continue to deny the inclusion of harm reduction language in
their resolutions, and continue to criminalize people who use drugs, in
particular young people.
*Criminalizing drug use fosters stigma, discrimination, isolation and hate.
This, in turn, contributes to a vicious cycle where rehabilitation is in
many countries also compulsory, when it should be voluntary. It also leads
to riskier behaviors, greatly increasing risks of HIV infection* said Aram
Barra, Drug Policy Programme Director of Espolea, a youth-led, Mexican based
organization working on human rights and empowering of young people in their
own communities with a gender perspective at the press conference of the *Now
Make It Happen!* campaign.
Mr. Barra then continued by stating: *Young people from all around the
world can lead a policy revolution, as it was showed by the UNAIDS through
its OUTLOOK Report of 2010. Nevertheless, for this to happen, governments
around the world need to hear the concerns and real needs of their newer
generations and act in accordance to that*. Youth led organizations present
at the AIDS Conference last year and the CND this year agree young people
want their heads of State and the international community to commit to their
development and promote Human Rights, Harm Reduction and Health Resources to
Young people are greatly affected by the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. 5.4
million people worldwide between the ages of 15 and 24 are living with HIV.
Globally, about 45% of new infections are among young people (UNAIDS/WHO
2008). In Eastern Europe specifically, 70% of the new infections are among
young drug users.
As the international community negotiates a new Declaration of Commitment
on HIV and AIDS in the coming months, the needs of young people who use
drugs must be given central consideration in the deliberations. Resolutions
made at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs must also aim to ensure a
supportive policy environment that allows for effective HIV prevention
policy and practice.
Young people from around the world call for the protection of young peoples
human rights, and for increased attention to harm reduction approaches for
young people who use drugs by:
*Reforming drug policies* that criminalize young people for drug use and
building alternative programs to incarceration;
*Ending zero-tolerance / abstinence only drug education *and couple drug
education with comprehensive sexual health education;
Conducting *better research on young people and drug use *that includes
young peoples participation in leading data collection and policy analysis,
Clearly *defining harm reduction services for young people* and making
sure they get access to them, such as substitution therapy drug treatment
and needle exchange.
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Drug Policy Programme Director
Contact number in Vienna, Austria
+ 43 650 2832019
Espolea | Juventud que deja huella
www.espolea.org | Twitter: (at) Espolea |