Adolescents and young people

The Alliance has worked with young people in all their diversity since its inception in 1994. We ensure that the realities of young people’s lives shape national and global responses to HIV by supporting their leadership and participation in designing the response, setting the targets and holding others to account.

We reach young people with HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services. This includes HIV prevention and SRHR information, male and female condoms, lubricants, HIV testing and treatment, family planning, sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis and treatment, cervical cancer screening, post-violence care and harm reduction.

Why work with young people?

AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents aged 10–14 in Africa and the second most common cause of death among adolescents globally. While AIDS mortality rates since 2000 have fallen by 30% in other age groups, there has been an increase of 50% in 10–19 year olds.

Early childhood and adolescence is a critical period for personal autonomy, responsibility for individual health and establishing life-long health behaviours. Peer pressure, gender norms, sexuality and the resulting inclusion in, or exclusion from, society dramatically shape vulnerability to HIV. However, young people have been neglected in the global health response.

Pacifique 3247Pacifique, 20, is living with HIV. He is optimistic about his future and directs a theatre group which raises awareness of HIV and related issues in Bujumbura, Burundi. ©International HIV/AIDS Alliance

The most marginalised adolescents and young people (including LGBT young people, young people who sell sex and young people who use drugs) are at a higher risk of infection. They face discrimination and human rights violations, and are often excluded from services.

The epidemic among the most marginalised young people requires us to recognise and respond to diverse realities and ensure that young people have access to appropriate, comprehensive HIV and SRHR services in safe and protected environments.

Young people need to be prioritised and engaged in finding solutions to these urgent health and wellbeing challenges.

Introducing READY

The Alliance is collaborating with other organisations to expand this work and has started implementing a portfolio of projects focusing on adolescents and young people called READY. Ready stands for Resilient & Empowered ADolescents & Young People.

The first two READY projects are under way in East, Central and Southern Africa, and other exciting projects are under development.

Read more about our current READY projects: READY+ and READY Teens.