Last week of the online discussion was important to get views of the respondents on where to focus and what role young people living with HIV have to play in the AIDS response.
So, we started the discussion by asking what health relationship means to young people, what is the space of sharing about HIV with their partner and what they think about condoms in any relationships. The responses were very general type rather than focused on HIV, sexual health issue but the respondents also clearly mentions the issue that we want to explore. One of the respondent said “Using condoms does not mean that you distrust your partner, it simply means you both are cautious. Condoms are essential parts of healthy relationship.”
The number of response itself symbolize that young people want to discuss it more and more and they are really concerned about it.
Another aspect of discussion revealed that young people not only care about condom, sex and their safety in any relation they also care much more about relationship without violence which of course means with out discrimination and with greater support in each other. As one respondents mentioned “A healthy relationship is with mutual respect and without violence which should have most importantly being responsible.”
On the second day of this week’s discussion, we focused on disclosure of HIV status.
Respondents expressed mix views but most of them express on favor of disclosure of status. The need to think about stigma and discrimination first before we say disclosure was raised as important.
For some respondents, disclosure is not important but having knowledge about HIV and their status oneself is much more important. Someone pointed this out: “No, it is not important to open their status, but it is important for them to understand about HIV and being responsible.” Therefore, it shows that young people are aware of consequences and critically think about that.
Some respondents didn’t see this as a debatable topic. They believe it is individual choice but they think there should be enough information about disclosure and rest is on the person only. As one young person said “Not necessary in my opnion , its individual CHOICE. Risk is something that differs on the individual. In the case you’re a young person living with HIV, one should be counseled of disclosure implication and should be determined by the individual.”
We preceded the discussion with what role young people living with HIV have in AIDS response. The number of respondents decreased drastically, but a few noted that united action from young people living with HIV is necessarywithout which it is not at all possible to tackle the prevention.
The respondents were in agreement that there is no inclusion of young people in response though it is very important. One of the respondents ssaid, “Young people living with HIV can show to others (especially youngsters) a breakthrough to create a modern paradigm about young people living with HIV.”
Therefore, it shows young people want united action no matter their HIV status.
Young people living with HIV and young people in general must work together to educate and to fight against stigma and discrimination. All agreed that in Asian society it is very difficult to break the stereotype associated with sexual health issues. Therefore, greater cooperation and working together is a must for the cause.
We concluded the discussion asking where young people want to invest if they have very limited resources. Respondents were clearly mentioning two things one part was on awareness and education and the other was on need-based intervention with greater urgency.
Some disagreed on targeting key affected population. “UNAIDS must drop this key affected population thing, when you target or make some part of the population as key you tend to ignore others (thats the reality) and the disease grows there. So educating the whole population is the only way forward,” said Soumyadeep.
But no one was ignored the need for education as preventive measure. There were a bit discussion around treatment as prevention measure but still young people do not have that much information on this.
In a way, this final discussion poses us a big question of whether or not there is uniformity on global voices and local actions. If not who are those responsible for unifying it? What will be the role of young people, importantly key affected population on this?