Spring 2014 Newsletter
Adolescent Treatment and Y+ Programme Strategy Meetings Influenced by two GYCAers Musah Lumumba, GYCA’s Link Up Uganda focal person, and Cedric Nininahazwe, GYCA’s Link Up Burundi focal person, participated in the Y+ Programme 2-day strategic meeting in Cape Town, South Africa in April. UNAIDS, in collaboration with the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) and the PACT1 organized a second meeting on the theme “Galvanising the movement to scale-up access to optimal treatment and related care for adolescents living with HIV,” which Ralph Akyea, GYCA’s Regional Focal Point for West Africa, attended with Musah. Ralph and Musah’s reflection follows. You can also read more of Musah’s reflections on both meetings here. Despite the significant gains in scaling up access to treatment, inequality gaps are emerging and a recent UNAIDS report shows that as HIV related deaths have gone down by 30 percent among other age groups, they have increased by 50 percent in Adolescents Living with HIV (ALHIV). The meeting was aimed at bringing together key HIV treatment and youth actors to strategize on improving adolescent access to optimal treatment and carerelated programming. The experience was overwhelming to say the least. Though a clinician, I identified more with my youthful self hence, acting as a young person first but bringing my clinical experience to bear when necessary. The meeting was intensive with a significant number of key resource persons from various organizations including those from the UN.
literacy, transition from pediatric to adult services, and service delivery. The second day centered upon practical actions and areas for collaboration. Four areas of collaboration aimed at scaling up access were agreed upon: community mobilization, data and research, access to essential medicines, and scaling up of promising practices. The meeting was a great success—we set and met reachable objectives and young people from a variety of backgrounds participated. The UNAIDS Secretariat is finalizing the collaboration plan that identifies opportunities, roles and responsibilities for treatment and youth actors to advocate for optimal treatment and related-care for adolescents. Several key messages emerged from the meeting, including that young people and adolescents living with HIV are not only treatment models—they are human beings with real sexual needs. In addition, the WHO and others must develop tools that capture and disaggregate data to include those aged 10 to 19. The work has been started and we are glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. We look forward to what lies ahead as we continue collaborating and invite more organizations to partner in scaling up access to optimal treatment and care for adolescents living with HIV. Additionally, UNAIDS will release an outcome document in late May that highlights some of the challenges, opportunities, and promising practices around adolescent treatment. A full report will be developed by the end of June.
The first day included presentations by UNAIDS on the challenges of scaling up; WHO on guidelines gaps; and UNICEF and the Y+ on Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention for adolescents living with HIV (PHDP), which emphasized the need to tackle HIV prevention and treatment holistically by not only addressing clinical needs but general health needs of ALHIV. Through the course of the day, we broke up into groups and discussed disclosure, adherence, stigma and discrimination, and SRHR. We also identified and did group work on four key issues for ALHIV: optimal drug regimens, treatment The PACT for social transformation is a collaboration framework agreed to by over 25 youth-led and youth serving organizations within the AIDS movement. It outlines five key themes and several sub-priorities for advancing the youth agenda in the context of HIV. Increasing adolescent access to treatment is one of the PACT’s guiding priorities. GYCA is part of the PACT. 1
Participants at the Y+ strategy meeting
IFMSA Assembles to Mobilize Involvement in the Post-2015 Process Anna Rebeka Szczegielniak, GYCA’s Regional Focal Point for Eastern Europe & Central Asia, recently attended the IFMSA General Assembly meeting. Her report follows. The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA) is a non-governmental organization representing associations of medical students. IFMSA has 108 member organizations from 103 countries on six continents. Membership is voluntary - each medical student and young doctor can become a member after completing the membership declaration. The mission statement of IFMSA reads, "Our mission is to offer future physicians a comprehensive introduction to global health issues. Through our programming and opportunities, we develop culturally sensitive students of medicine, intent on influencing the trans-national inequalities that shape the health of our planet." Twice a year, the delegations from National Member Organizations get together at the IFMSA General Assemblies. The March Meeting and the August Meeting bring together 600–900 medical students from all around the world. During the seven days of the meetings, the delegates discuss matters of the Federation and make valuable contacts for their organizations. Each and every meeting has a theme to make this event tailored to the current needs. IFMSA General Assembly March Meeting 2014 took place in Hammamet, Tunisia and was particularly important – the IFMSA has come together to learn more about the post-2015 development agenda process with the theme "Health Beyond 2015: Get Involved!" The General Assembly presented a fantastic opportunity for all of the members of the Federation to find out about the history of the global health development and learn about the successes and failures, which could not be avoided in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). During the meeting the importance of Universal Health Coverage and the social determinants of health was raised, as well as the role of medical students and young people in determining the next program of global development. It was also emphasized that new health concerns are emerging, such as mental health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Experts from the WHO, UN, academia and non-governmental organizations gave clear insight into what the greatest challenges in achieving a healthy future might be. This meeting resulted in the Hammamet Declaration on Health Post in 2015. The meeting also established a Standing Committee on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS (SCORA). GYCA
Many externals eagerly answered invitations to participate, with sessions being led on maternal health and access to safe abortion, sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 agenda, and others. Ipas and UNAIDS both participated. Other SCORA members also gave sessions on why it is hard to talk about sex, sexual history taking, and local issues in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Meeting attendees also negotiated and developed policy statements on ending discrimination to better the health of LGBTI people and access to safe abortion. I think this meeting and its results are extremely inspiring to all members of GYCA. It shows that there are many courses of action through which our voices can be heard!
Participants at the IFMSA General Assembly meeting
Talent Youth Association and ECHO Hold SRHR Retreat For Young Women in Addis Ababa Ethiopia’s population in 2008 was 73.9 million with 48 percent under 15 years old. Young people are often not given full information about contraceptive access and usage, abortion services, and testing for STIs. With an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV, Ethiopia has one of the largest populations of HIV infected people in the world. Talent Youth Association (TaYA) a GYCA partner, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Youth Council for Higher Opportunities (ECHO) organized an SRHR retreat campaign in three secondary schools in Addis Ababa (Shimeles Habte, Misrak Goh and Temenja Yaj schools) from December 25 to 27, 2013. Meron Debebe, GYCA’s National Focal Point for
Ethiopia and a TaYa member, helped organize and lead the retreat. Meron’s summary of objectives, activities, and lessons learned is below. Objectives of the Campaign
to increase the awareness level of the students in the three selected high schools on SRH issues, especially unwanted pregnancy, peer pressure, and HIV/AIDS to share and promote the places where young people can access RH services to disseminate the fact sheet produced by TaYA and other relevant documents to the students and school libraries Activities of the Campaign
Opening speech by school principals and student representatives Focus Group Discussions between students Question and answer sessions on SRHR issues TaYa-produced fact sheet disseminated Educational games related to HIV/AIDS knowledge Dance competition between students Award ceremony Collecting feedback Lessons Learned
Activities should be planned in detail to include new current issues on young people Some students have awareness on SRHR issues but the information they get is not from the right people or isn’t accurate This kind of campaign should be designed in collaboration with the different clubs inside schools (for sustainability and teamwork) Planned activities should be in line with the time assigned them Effort should be made to involve volunteers in this kind of activities More focus should be given to edutainment activities because students are more attracted to music, games, and other ―fun‖ activities
GYCA Participates in 47th Commission on Population and Development in New York The 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York ended in the early hours of April 12th with a call from governments to reaffirm the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action, which called for women’s health and rights – specifically their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights – to be central to global development policies, program, and funding. GYCA members participated in the youth caucus at CPD47, as well as the youth caucus communications sub-committee. Along with other advocates of young people’s (and particularly young people living with and affected by HIV’s) sexual and reproductive health and rights, GYCA supported efforts to include rights-based language in the outcome document surrounding young people living with and affected by HIV. Many governments at the 47th CPD expressed strong support for advancing sexual rights – 59 governments explicitly called for action to end discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. These calls build on agreements made at ICPD Beyond 2014 Review regional population conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia and the Pacific, as well as outcomes of thematic conferences such as the ICPD Global Youth Forum Bali Declaration. Despite significant support for advancing sexual rights, the 47th CPD outcome document falls short of promoting and protecting the health and human rights of young people, and fails to advance an integrated and rights-based HIV response. While the document does call for intensifying efforts to ensure universal access to HIV services, it does little to address the social and structural inequalities that limit people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and place particular populations at a disproportionate risk of HIV. GYCA and other allies, including the Link Up consortium, RESURJ, the CPD47 youth caucus, and Amnesty International, have also expressed disappointment with the CPD47 process and statement.
High school students at the SRHR retreat
Call for Submissions: GYCA Newsletter Summer 2014 edition! Have you represented a youth organization at an HIV/AIDS education conference recently? Or organized an event to celebrate International Women's Day? Or have major plans for the International AIDS Conference? If you’re an active member and have participated in an event, activity, or conference recently that showcases your HIV and AIDS or SRHR activism, the GYCA community wants to hear about it! You can share your story by contributing to the next edition of the GYCA Newsletter. Here’s how: Submit a piece in narrative format of between 300500 words. Briefly introduce yourself, and describe your involvement with the relevant event, activity, or conference. Include the following: A photo that can easily be turned into a thumbnail (ie. jpg format ) A link to your organization website or activity website A link to your TIG or social media profile or website Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 1, 2014. All submissions should be emailed as an attachment (.doc or .docx file – PDF will not be accepted). We look forward to sharing your incredible work with the world! Thank you, The GYCA Team