Six vibrant Young Reporters Cover ICASA 2013 in South Africa.
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Young people remain at the centre of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in terms of rates of infection, vulnerability, impact, and potential for change. They have grown up in a world changed by AIDS but many still lack comprehensive and correct knowledge about how to prevent HIV infection. This situation persists even though the world has agreed that young people have the human right to education, information and services that could protect them from harm.
Young people are disproportionately affected in the HIV pandemic. They face the economic and social impact of HIV/AIDS on families, communities, and nations, and they must be at the centre of prevention actions. Where young people are well informed of HIV risks and prevention strategies, they are changing their behaviour in ways that reduces their vulnerability. For example, in several countries, targeted education has led to delayed sexual debut and increased use of condoms resulting in a decrease in HIV prevalence in young people. Yet efforts to increase HIV knowledge among young people remain inadequate.
In order to bridge this gap, young people from different parts of Africa are taking bigger roles at the on-going International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). UNICEF, in Partnership with the Children's Radio Foundation of South Africa, has sponsored 6 Youth reporters from 3 different African countries (Zambia, South Africa, and Democratic Republic of Congo) to cover ICASA as Youth Reporters. They will later share the captured information globally with other young people using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud for audio pieces.
The ICASA Conference was preceded by a Youth Pre-Conference at which more than 170 young people from across the world discussed issues of accountability, leadership, and participation of youth in the fight for Zero HIV, Zero stigma and against discrimination.
Today, the third day of the ICASA, was blended with a debate at the youth pavilion where two Cape Town based schools: Springfield and Rompeposch High Schools, battled it out. The motion under scrutiny to which Spring Field High School strongly proposed and carried throughout the end of the debate was that "Sex education should be integrated into the school curriculum.’’
The conference closes on Wednesday the 11th-12-13.