MOBILIZATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE CRUCIAL TO WAR
AGAINST AIDS, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN
MESSAGE TO YOUTHAIDS BENEFIT GALA
NEW YORK, 28 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the annual YouthAIDS benefit gala in New York, 27 October:
Gatherings such as yours are living proof that we can translate a problem into a solution. We know that HIV targets the young -- half of today’s new infections are among young people. But we also know that wherever HIV prevention has been successful, it is young people who have been at the forefront of change.
Young people have the energy, creativity, and flexibility essential to HIV prevention and care. Wherever they have been empowered with the knowledge, skills and means to protect themselves, they have succeeded in battling HIV. They can bring to their peers convincing messages about safe sexual behaviour. And, in the most affected parts of the world, young people are compassionate and responsible caregivers to sick parents.
The international community needs to do its part too -- in particular on three fronts:
-- National leaders must make programmes for young people a priority;
-- We must maximize the participation of young people in prevention and care.
-- We must work for a massive increase in education programmes and services for young people -- especially for girls, orphans and other vulnerable children.
It is in the mobilization of young people that the real heroes and heroines of the war against AIDS are to be found. It is our job to furnish them with hope. I am delighted to send my encouragement to the YouthAIDS initiative, and my warmest wishes to all participants in this Annual Benefit Gala. I thank you all for your commitment, and hope that many more will follow you example.
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