If previous International AIDS Conferences are any indication, young people will comprise one of the most actively engaged delegations at AIDS 2012. This is welcomed news, as the leadership and involvement of young people is critical to the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation. HIV significantly affects young people. In the U.S., young people aged 13 to 29 accounted for 39% of new HIV infections in 2009. Globally, an estimated 3,300 young people between 15 and 24 become infected each day.
The aim of the AIDS 2012 Youth Programme is to strengthen the participation and profile of young people at AIDS 2012. Major activities will include a Youth Pre-Conference and reception from July 18 – 20 and the Youth Pavilion. Located in the Global Village (a community space open to conference delegates and the general public free of charge), the Youth Pavilion will serve as the main hub for youth activity and networking. Beyond the Global Village, the larger conference program will also feature sessions with a particular focus on key issues affecting young people.
A pocket guide listing all youth-related activities and an online roadmap of relevant sessions will be available during the conference. Throughout the week, rapporteurs will attend youth-themed sessions and events, and a summary report on the week’s major developments will be presented before the closing session on Friday.
To encourage young people’s participation, AIDS 2012 organizers are offering heavily discounted registration fees for young people under age 26 (delegates must be at least 18 years old to register). For young people from high-income countries such as the U.S., this discount brings the registration fee down to $280 (from $940) if purchased before the last minute deadline of May 4th. More information on registration , including registration types and fees, is available on the conference website.
The Washington, D.C. YouthForce is a coalition of youth organizations that work together to leverage the presence of young people at the International AIDS Conference. Since its inception in 2004, over 1,500 young people have participated in conference planning. Applications for membership on one of several Washington, D.C. YouthForce planning committees are due on Monday, March 12th.
Complete conference information is available at http://www.aids2012.org