What does International Youth Day mean to you?
International Youth Day means highlighting youth voices and a call to action of our voices so that our point of view is integrated across programs and policies. In addition, there should be an emphasis on investing in youth-led organizations and supporting youth activism.
What does a world for all ages look like in the context of the HIV response?
Young people should have a say or agency regarding decisions that affect their bodies and life. In the Asia Pacific region where I come from, there are many punitive laws such as the criminalization of same-sex relations, types of sex work and also travel restrictions for people living with HIV. This fuels stigma and discrimination among young key populations and in my mind increases barriers to much needed HIV services.
We must ensure an intersectional, intergenerational and human rights-based approach to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of young people in all our diversities across the region. We fully recognize the principles of “Do No Harm” and “Leave No One behind.” I cannot insist enough on consulting all communities in the region.