Leaders must integrate young people more closely into fight against HIV Annan

“National leaders must make programmes for young people a priority,” he said yesterday in a message to the second annual YouthAIDS benefit gala in New York. “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.”Half of today’s new HIV infections are among the young, but young people also have been at the forefront of successful prevention programmes, he said.”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 patients,” he said.In a video message Sunday to the 11th international conference of people living with HIV/AIDS, Mr. Annan said the people who were affected had learnt that treatment had to be part of any successful response to AIDS and had shown how effectively they could devise and carry out strategies for prevention and care.The people living with AIDS also had stood up admirably as “leaders in the struggle against stigma, silence and discrimination,” he told the conference in Kampala, Uganda.”The good news is, governments are starting to understand all this, too,” Mr. Annan said. “All governments have now declared their commitment to engaging people living with HIV/AIDS as full partners in their struggle against it.”