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On the eve of the 22nd International AIDS Conference, let's shine a spotlight on youth. 

Age should not be a factor in receiving life-saving care. Yet young people – and adolescents in particular – face huge barriers in accessing the care and accurate information they need to make informed choices stay healthy.

I’m Dakshitha Wickremarathne, a Women Deliver Young Leader alumnus and Board Member. My work as the Director of Programmes for the Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka focuses on creating better access to health information and services for young people through comprehensive sexuality education. This week, I'm in Amsterdam on a related mission: to bring the SRHR and HIV movements together, influence policies and systems, and make them work for girls and women. 

Dakshitha speaking to young leaders
In my region of Asia and the Pacific, substantial progress has been made in combating HIV. However, in recent years, troubling trends suggest that these efforts need to be rethought in order to reach people most at risk. AIDS-related deaths among 10-19-year-olds almost quadrupled in South Asia between 2001 and 2015 from 1,500 to 5,300 and Asia-Pacific currently has about 220,000 adolescents living with HIV. (Source: UNICEF, UNAIDS
 

At this crucial point in time, the Generation Now partnership is springing into action.

Generation Now is a collective effort to unite advocates, young leaders, academics, funders, policymakers, and frontline healthcare workers to connect the dots between HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the particular needs of adolescents and young women. It aims to ensure that young people across the globe, living with HIV or at risk of contracting HIV, will lead healthy and happy lives. 

Dakshitha leading a CSE training session
Adolescents and young people represent a growing share of people living with HIV worldwide, but they also can help turn the tide. It’s time to unite, to support young people taking bold steps to ensure that integrated SRHR & HIV policies, services, and systems are the norm – not the exception. The clock is ticking. The time is now. 

Related Resources

To join the conversation online, use the hashtag #GenerationNow
For more information on Generation Now, visit this webpage.

A special thanks to the Core Group – half of which are young people themselves – for making this important series of meetings happen.
Copyright © 2018 Women Deliver, All rights reserved.


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