Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
A Miscarriage of Justice in Missouri
Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:08

by Wesley Thomas, Program Coordinator for LGBTQ Health and Rights

The trial and conviction of Michael Johnson is a perfect storm of ways NOT to help reduce HIV rates among young men of color who have sex with men.

Johnson, 23, was accused not having disclosed his HIV status to sexual partners – a crime in Missouri and 23 other states. Six former partners testified that Johnson had not disclosed his status, while Johnson testified that he did. Johnson was found guilty in May, and sentenced to a total of 60 years in prison.

His trial and sentencing are a perfect storm of harmful approaches to and biases surrounding HIV. Articles on Gawker and Buzzfeed have described in detail the biases of the jury (many believed homosexuality itself is a sin); the myths about HIV which were shared in the courtroom (including that HIV could be transmitted by masturbation); and the problematic nature of HIV criminalization laws in general (they stigmatize individuals with HIV, and do not lower HIV rates).

For a decade we have been watching HIV rates rise among young men of color who have sex with men. And we are still stuck in a dangerous fog of stigma and ignorance.

You Can Shape the New National HIV/AIDS Strategy
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 07:30

URGENT: The Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) is asking the public to vote on which strategies are the most important to reaching an AIDS-free generation. We’ve submitted a recommendation that the strategy prioritize young people, the only segment of the population for whom HIV rates continue to increase. Voting through ONAP’s system is one more way to make our demands heard.

With one click you can let the Obama Administration know that prioritizing young people in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is crucial.  Voting closes Friday, so vote now! 

Join the Sex Ed Road Trip!
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 08:12

Over the past several months we have seen youth activists make their voices heard from the streets of their local communities to the steps of their state legislators offices. From May 11th to May 17th join Advocates for Youth in uplifting the voices and actions of youth activists from across the country who are making major waves towards comprehensive sex education in the states.   

Read the series here!

….Or Does It Explode?
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 12:49

Every young person, in every city and country, has the right to health, education, and a secure stake in the future. We owe it to them to provide them with the tools they need to lead safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives, and to nurture and respect their leadership. If we don’t, the failure lies with us, not them.

When young people grow up in an environment where they face systematic oppression and violence every day – when they are denied access to education, health care, and economic opportunity – when law enforcement and the judicial system don’t protect them but treat them as targets – when trauma, disorder, and pain are realities throughout their lives – who is at fault when their anger and disenfranchisement take a destructive shape?

We are at fault.

Nobody wants to see their child shot down by police officers. Nobody wants to see their community burn. But here we are, and we have to examine how we got here. We leave too many young people behind, in the grip of poverty and desperation, with no belief in their own value and no path to realizing their potential. Then we blame and vilify them as “thugs.”

What we are witnessing is the result of young people who have not just seen their dreams deferred but their lives devalued and their communities dismantled. Yet as young and old come together to clean up Baltimore today, we see what could be, if we value and invest in our young people.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

- Langston Hughes

Advocates is recruiting!
Thursday, 02 April 2015 14:35

Are you a young person (14-24 years old) who is:

  • Passionate about fighting for young people's rights to sexual health information and services?
  • Interested in connecting with youth leaders from across the country?
  • Dedicated to developing skills to make a difference in your community?

Apply today to join one of Advocates for Youth's programs!

If selected, you will have opportunities to: develop new organizing and leadership skills; become informed on sexual and reproductive health issues; connect with passionate young people from across the country; and build skills to make a lasting impact in your community. You will also join more than 100 youth activists in Washington, DC for an intense four-day activist training institute free of charge!

Advocates' youth activists have done amazing work this year. You can join them in:

  • Advocating for better sexual health education policies in your state
  • Increasing HIV testing and condom availability in your community or on your campus
  • Providing confidential support and resources to young people who are coming out as LGBTQ
  • Mobilizing your peers around international family planning issues
  • Working toward ending the shame and stigma people are made to feel about having an abortion
Advocates for Youth Responds to Latest Doctor Fix Bill
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 08:27

Statement by Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth

We are terribly disappointed with the current Doc Fix bill, designed to address Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (known as SGR). While the current bill does contain an extension of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which provides funding for critical programs that address issues of unintended teen pregnancy and sexuality transmitted infections, overall the bill goes too far in trading away the health and well being of young people for political expediency. 

By including abortion care restrictions and extending the Hyde Amendment; outrageously increasing funding for ineffective and misguided abstinence-only-until-marriage programs by $25 million a year; and falling short with only a two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, this bill fails to meet its intended goal to advance health and justice priorities. When Congress singles out children and young people, especially those most in need of assistance by denying them health care and lifesaving information about condoms and contraception, we strip them of the opportunity to take personal responsibility for their health as they grow into adulthood. The unrelenting attack on young people’s right to sexual health information and services must end. We must begin to recognize young people’s right to lead healthy lives.

Testing Makes Us Stronger
Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:44

Advocates for Youth is proud to lead the Testing Makes Us Stronger (TMUS) campaign. Approximately 1 in 4 new HIV infections is among youth ages 13-24. Of that number, same-gender loving black men ages 13-24 represent approximately sixty-percent of the HIV epidemic among youth. Every day, hundreds of young, same-gender loving Black men are faced with a myriad of different life experiences that impact their overall health and wellness.

Please join Advocates for Youth as we support young Black, same-gender loving black men in their efforts to leading healthy lives. For more information about Testing Makes Us Stronger campaign and please  

Request FREE materials here.  

The adaptation of Testing Makes Us Stronger (TMUS) is one part of a five-year cooperative agreement between Advocates for Youth and the Centers for Disease Control Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). The project aims to implement supportive, school-centered HIV/STD prevention programs and school-based HIV/STD prevention related policies to reduce HIV and other STD risk and disparities among black and Latino YMSM ages 13-19. This work is done in partnership with local education agencies in three cities (Broward County, Florida; Los Angeles, California; and San Francisco, California) who will work in collaboration with community-based organizations to implement multiple program activities to meet the HIV and STD prevention needs of black and Latino young men who have sex with men.


Declare your love for safe abortion care
Thursday, 12 February 2015 09:47

Want to show your love for access to safe abortion care this Valentine’s Day? Bee sweet to your honey, or some otter special person in your life and send them a 1 in 3 Valentine for just $5! Check out the new Valentines for 2015! Click here to send out your Valentine!  

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