Young people living with HIV who gathered for a three-day Y+ Summit in Kampala have demanded for their space which is being misused by some self-seeking individuals and organizations in the name of “we are advocating for the voiceless.”
These say it is time for them to speak for themselves since they have got the voice and that there is no further relevancy for people to speak for them.
“People have always said that people living with HIV are vulnerable, voiceless among others and that’s why people hide behind advocacy claiming that “we are speaking for the voiceless but we believe that we have got the voice but only lack the spaces to express,” they said.
Statistics from UNAIDs indicate that young people aged between 15 and 24 years are the most affected with HIV/AIDs with a contribution of 79% out of the current 1.4 million infections in the country.
Ruth Awori, the Ag. ED of the Uganda Network of Uganda people living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) said that they as (UNYPA) believe that everyone has got a voice but only lack the spaces to air out their views.
Awori the ED UNYPA
“This year we are bringing them all together to enhance their capacities to be able to go back use different platforms even if it’s social media, community meetings but also lead the change they want to see in their communities,” she said
“We have over 30 district represented in this summit and more are still coming, and what have done is organize a cocktail of activities prepared and scheduled including panel sessions, exchange learning and expert sessions for example advocacy where experts come through and teach them how they can do the advocacy in their communities, work with young women in their communities to end HIV spread in Uganda,” she added’
Awori also expressed concern on the higher prevalence of HIV among young women and girls which is evidenced in different researches.
This years’ 3-day Y+ Summit was organized by UNYPA under the theme: We have got the voice, pass us the mic.
Speaking at the Summit, Sarah Nakku, the UNAIDS Community Mobilization and networking Adviser, who represented the Country Director of UNAIDS said young women and girls are the most affected by AIDS and these further faced numerous challenges including rise in teenage pregnancies especially during the pandemic.
“We experienced 25% increments in teenage pregnancies last year because258766 girls aged between 15 and 24 years got pregnant in 2021. So, we really need to concentrate and put our focus on the age group.”
She further hailed their tremendous contributions in the fight against HIV since their inception in 2014.
“Without young people globally not only in Uganda we cannot achieve a sustainable development goals including the colon on health and well-being, gender equality, education and so on unless we put young people at the center it is from that cause that for us as you need in when you are coming up with a new global a strategy which will manage to launch last year we came up strongly to say we have to have our people,” she added.