The HIV/AIDS pandemic has become arguably the worst public health crisis in human history:
34 million men, women, and children worldwide are currently infected with HIV.
17 million people, half of those currently infected, do not yet know their status.
26 million people, more than ¾ of those currently infected, do not receive proper anti-retroviral treatment.
23.5 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are HIV positive, 69% of the infected population worldwide.
2.5 million people became infected with HIV in 2011 (roughly 6849 every day).
More than 90% of all new youth (Ages 0-14) HIV infections occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.
40% of all new HIV infections occur among youth aged 0-24.
HIV/AIDS is 100% preventable. UNAIDS declared the theme of 2012 World AIDS day to be “Getting to Zero,” a testament to a worldwide goal of reaching no new HIV infections by 2015.
What is needed to actually get us there? Two key actors in the fight against HIV, HIV prevention and youth awareness, are utilized within Grassroot Soccer’s Skillz curriculums and have the ability to make an extraordinary impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
#1: HIV Prevention
The most effective way to combat new infections is HIV prevention, a tactic that focuses on the promotion of healthy sexual behavior and life skills in at-risk communities.
Learn more about HIV prevention:
- Behavioural Strategies to Reduce HIV Transmission: How to Make Them Work Better – Coates, Richter, and Caceres. Lancet, August 2008
- Uganda’s HIV Prevention Success: The Role of Sexual Behavior Change and the National Response - Green, Halperin et al. AIDS and Behavior, July 2006
- UNAIDS Report on Innovative Approaches to HIV Prevention - UNAIDS, October 2000
#2: Youth Awareness
“Young people are the key in the fight against AIDS. By giving them the support they need, we can empower them to protect themselves against the virus.” – Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
No matter which way you put it, young people are the future. Youth awareness and empowerment campaigns have the ability to shift the perspectives of young people worldwide. It is on this front in the fight against HIV/AIDS where ingenuity and creativity have the largest impact on HIV prevention.
Learn more about youth awareness:
- Targeting Youth: Can Cell Phones Help the Fight Against HIV/AIDS?- Innovative new approach that combines the use of social media to engage youth in the fight against HIV
- Preventing HIV/AIDS in Young People - A systematic review of the evidence from developing countries, compiled by the WHO
- School-based HIV prevention programmes for African youth – Gallant & Maticka-Tyndale,Social Science & Medicine, April 2004
Learn more about HIV/AIDS, Prevention and Youth Awareness:
- UNAIDS, UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report, 2012 - Recently published material highlighting the various strides and hurdles within the global fight against HIV
- The Center for the Study of AIDS (South Africa) - Website showcasing numerous detailed reports on the HIV/AIDS epidemic
- AIDSinfo - An interactive and comprehensive look at the impact of HIV/AIDS worldwide
- Avert.org - Youth-targeted initiative to “Avert” HIV/AIDS
- UNAIDS - United Nations department dedicated solely to stopping the spread of HIV
- The Invisble Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS – GRS Advisory Board Member Helen Epstein’s 2007 book overturns many of our received notions about why AIDS is rampant in Africa and what to do about it. A must read!
- Sizwe’s Test: A Young Man’s Journey Through Africa’s AIDS Epidemic – Award-winning South African journalist Johnny Steinberg journeys to the poor black village of Ithanga, where antiretrovirals are available, but electricity and running water are not. Though HIV testing and treatment are readily accessible, why do so many abstain?