Aiming High: Tools to support meaningful youth participation

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It is estimated that five million young people aged 15-24 and two million adolescents aged 10-19 are living with HIV. Yet young people most affected by HIV – including those living with HIV, young sex workers, young men who have sex with men, young transgender people, and young people who use drugs – typically are unable to access and utilize comprehensive health services which meet both their HIV prevention and treatment needs as well as their sexual and reproductive health needs. In addition, young people affected by HIV are often not welcome to participate in policy and programme design and implementation, or do not feel comfortable doing so because of structural and cultural factors (such as stigma, taboo and discrimination based on age, gender, HIV status, and sexual orientation) or because of perceived lack of knowledge, expertise, skills, or abilities.

To support the meaningful engagement of young people living with HIV and from key populations in decision making that affects their lives, ATHENA and Link Up partners, Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS (GYCA) and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, have launched two new tools: Step Up, Link Up, Speak Up, and AIMING HIGH 10 strategies for meaningful youth engagement.
A film, Aiming High: Meaningful youth engagement was also launched at the International AIDS Conference in July, and features youth advocates from each Link Up country talking about their experiences and achievements over the course of the Link Up project. Together with the Aiming High scorecard, it demonstrates how to involve and engage young people as partners and leaders in their work in future.
For more information and resources, including the Step Up, Link Up, Speak Up Facilitator's Guide, Mentoring Tool, and powerpoint presentation, as well as the AIMING High Briefing Paper and Scorecards available in English and French, please visit the Link Up page.