PANCAP Hosted Meeting of Youth to Discuss Ending AIDS by 2030Youth Leaders formulated and agreed on framework for regional youth advocacy
The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) hosted a meeting of youth leaders from 19 Caribbean countries on April 21 and 22, 2017 in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The focus of the forum was a discussion on the role of youth in the national and regional response to HIV and AIDS; participants were also involved in formulating and agreeing on a framework for regional youth advocacy.
Senator the Hon. Robert T.L.V. Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Chair of the Executive of Board of PANCAP delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony on Friday, April 21.
The participating countries included Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The event facilitated in-depth discussions about sexual health issues affecting young people and the barriers to accessing sexual health services. The meeting also encompassed identifying what knowledge and tools they require to protect themselves from HIV.
The meeting provided an update on the new strategic directions required for ending the AIDS epidemic. Youths discussed their role in the national and regional response and agreed on the key elements of a framework for regional youth advocacy.
PANCAP Youth Advisor, Dr Astell Collins (Hon), explained that the meeting was pivotal for creating a strategy for youth leaders to implement in responding to the range of challenges facing young people with regard to sexual health and HIV and AIDS.
‘Young people, especially among key populations (KPs), in the Caribbean are disproportionately at risk of HIV infection’, stated Dr. Collins, ‘they face greater barriers to accessing prevention services. HIV prevalence remains high among key populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, and young people.
At the same time challenges regarding stigma and discrimination, violations of human rights and gender-based violence continue to hinder access to services for young people in general. Hence, there is a need to work more systematically with young people belonging to KPs who experience greater challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health services’.
Youth leaders from each of the KPs were represented at the meeting.
The meeting, which was funded by the Global Fund and PAHO, forms part of a wider intervention programme created by PANCAP for Youth Advocacy. The programme also includes youth advocacy training, facilitating youth leaders’ participation in high-level meetings to influence policy decisions affecting youth and the development of a regional youth advocacy network.
The Meeting of Youth Leaders, the first of these initiatives to be implemented, will be held annually for the next three years.
PANCAP Coordinating Unit | Knowledge for Health (K4Health)
CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Extension 3409
Fax: (592) 222-0203