The International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) is a major international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa. Its current biennial hosting alternates between Anglophone and Francophone African countries. The 2015 ICASA was held in Harare, Zimbabwe.
I did not get the opportunity to be part of the conference this year. However, due to my commitment to disseminating news surrounding HIV/AIDS and SRHR issues affecting young people, here is are the outcomes of the youth Pre-Conference.
We young people at the ICASA YouthFront organized Pre-Conference for the 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, held on the 27th and 28th of November 2015 at the Zimbali Conference Centre, in Harare, Zimbabwe, under the theme ‘Agenda 2030: Delivering for Youth in the Post 2015 Era’.
Having noted the tremendous progress in the HIV response in Africa, curtailed with notable challenges in access to comprehensive HIV and SRHR services and effects of HIV on our continent, where AIDS is now the number one cause of adolescent deaths, and disproportionately affecting our young girls and women, as the future generation and young people of Africa therefore, we commit to,
- Advocate for the review of punitive and conflicting laws, policies and legal frameworks that impede access to HIV and SRHR services for all – leaving no one behind – including age of consent in our respective countries,
- Influence governments to invest in research and development targeted at new prevention technologies that work for adolescents and young people including Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
- An Africa youth task-force for prevention research and development.
- Influence governments to increase financing for health including increasing domestic financing for the HIV response and reproductive health commodities.
- Strengthen and support structures for young people living with HIV to own the HIV response.
- Be part of HIV and SRHR policy making processes, implementation and evaluation ensuring meaningful youth participation and accountability including in institutional processes such as the Global Fund.
- Lead country level actions to advocate for the delivery of Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
- Invest our efforts to participate in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs framework, including the commitment to End of AIDS by 2030.
- Increase our engagement with existing funding and program opportunities like the Global Fund, All in!, DREAMS, Every woman Every Child.
- To support fellow young people to dispel myths and disinformation which drive stigma and fuel discrimination. Further ensuring that the human rights and dignity of every adolescent and young person are protected, promoted and fulfilled, without distinction of any kind.
- Commit to increased engagement and advocacy with our governments, regional economic communities, the African Union, United Nations agencies and other civil society groups to accelerate efforts towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly targets related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, ending AIDS, investing in education. Raising awareness among policy makers and other stakeholders on the importance of the demographic dividend towards the sustainable development of Africa.
Presented on 28th November 2015 at the closing plenary of the ICASA Youth Pre-Conference.