From May 31 through June 2, thousands of global leaders and civil society representatives gathered at the United Nations to assess the world’s progress in combating HIV/AIDS and to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating the disease. The primary purpose of the three-day meeting was to draft a short, action-oriented document that countries could take home and use to inform national-level AIDS policies.
Advocates and community leaders from around the world had hoped such a document would include specific targets and milestones to which they could hold their leaders accountable, and that it would explicitly identify those groups most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The final declaration includes no such indicators, nor does it cite such vulnerable groups as sex workers, drug users and men who have sex with men.
Language on youth, however, is strong. The leaders of the world confirmed today that they:
Commit to address the rising rates of HIV infection among young people to ensure an HIV-free future generation through the implementation of comprehensive, evidence- based prevention strategies, responsible sexual behaviour, including the use of condoms, evidence-and skills-based, youth specific HIV education, mass media interventions, and the provision of youth friendly health services;
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