by Brian Ackerman, Advocates for Youth
February 1, 2007 - 7:00 am
Brian Ackerman is an intern at Advocates for Youth and a junior at the George Washington University, majoring in International Affairs.
I always shudder when I hear that young people aged 15-24 account for over 40% of new HIV infections. At 20 years old, I am halfway through college and focused on the youthful experience of "finding myself" and creating my future. I hope HIV never has to factor into my equation, but knowing that it is a daily reality for my peers around the world is an eerie truth. Helping young people protect themselves while still balancing the rest of the costs and needs of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is increasingly difficult.
This was reiterated for me at recent briefing, "A European Perspective on the Future of Global AIDS Programs: A Conversation with Five AIDS Ambassadors," hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Center for Global Development. The event began with each ambassador speaking for a few minutes about the commitment their country has made toward fighting global AIDS. Since coming to work as an intern on international issues at Advocates for Youth, I've been exposed to much of the rhetoric about the flow of aid aimed at fighting infectious diseases in the developing world, but the commentary from these ambassadors was both refreshingly honest and difficult to hear.