Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Reflections on Social Media Communication: National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day 2014
Thursday, 31 July 2014 08:39

By Rachel Cooke, Associate Director of Communications, and Wesley  Dixon, NYHAAD Ambassador. Re-posted courtesy of

April 10, 2014 marked the second annual National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), a day of action to put young people at the center of the conversation around HIV in our country, highlighting both the impact of HIV & AIDS on young people and their role in responding to the epidemic. Today we reflect on the use of Twitter, Facebook and infographics around NYHAAD.

Meeting Young People Where They Are

In preparation for NYHAAD, Advocates for Youth recognized that efforts had to be driven by young people, and recruited 17 Youth Ambassadors across the country to share their stories, illustrating the impact of HIV on young people and the barriers they face in seeking the information, testing, and treatment they need. The work of the Ambassadors exceeded our expectations, and their action resulted in blog posts, events nationwide, and proclamations of NYHAAD by the mayors of Gainesville, Florida, and Seattle, Washington.

Over the years, Advocates for Youth has learned that you have to meet young people where they are, and social media is an invaluable tool in reaching young people and elevating youth activism. Wesley Eugene Dixon, a NYHAAD Youth Ambassador and student at Yale University explained that “new forms of media empower young people to insert their voices in conversations that they have historically been left out of.”

Fall 2014 Semester GACC Applications are now open!
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:55


The Great American Condom Campaign is a youth-led grassroots movement to make the U.S. a sexually healthy nation. Each year, GACC members give out 1,000,000 Trojan Brand condoms on college campuses across the United States, educate their peers about sexual health, and organize to improve the policies that affect young people's health and lives.

PLEASE APPLY HERE. Applications will close on August 15th, 2013. All successful Spring Semester 2014 SafeSite applicants will be notified.

Reproductive rights meet economic reality
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 07:36

by guest writer Fran Moreland Johns

“We couldn’t come up with the money,” one weary 19-year-old told me. Accessing a safe abortion for Mandy, this young mother who was already caring for a severely disabled toddler, would have meant traveling for hundreds of miles and losing several days’ pay from her minimum-wage job. Unable to make that work and unsuccessful at one dangerous attempt to self-abort, Mandy now struggles with two babies under two years old and says she’ll do her best not to get pregnant again.

A constitutional right should not be denied those without money or resources. But it’s happening in state after state and is a growing injustice at every level. For a federal judge to say, as Justice Edith Jones of Texas did earlier this year, that traveling several hundred miles to access safe abortion is no problem because “the roads are flat and you can drive 75 mph,” is a slap in the face of women everywhere.

Judge Jones doesn’t know Mandy. Or, in all likelihood, any of the thousands of other women whose rights are denied because they don’t happen to have fast cars and gas money.

Access Denied: Supreme Court Turns a Blind Eye to Women’s Health Care Needs
Monday, 07 July 2014 07:26

Once again the Supreme Court turned its back on the health care needs of women, especially young women and low-income women. In a split decision, the Supreme Court put at jeopardy women’s access to contraception. Today’s ruling allows some privately owned, for-profit corporations to exploit our country’s tradition of religious freedom and dictate the health coverage of their employees. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Products challenged the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage requirement, alleging that it violates their companies’ religious rights, all the while disregarding their employee’s religious freedom and right to privacy and basic health services.

“Today’s ruling sanctioned an insidious appropriation of individual rights, establishing an expansive religious-right-of-corporations,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth. Read more

Supreme Court Thwarts “Buffer Zone” Initiative and Turns its Back on Women
Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00

Today the Supreme Court turned its back on women. Instead of upholding a law enacted to protect the safety of patients and staff, the Court ruled to inhibit women’s ability to freely exercise their right to abortion care—a right afforded by the Court itself over forty years ago—and chose instead to allow protesters to continue their routine of harassment, intimidation, and shaming of women seeking abortion care.

“With this ruling the Supreme Court is sending a message to women that they are on their own. They are telling women across the country that while they may have the right to an abortion, they will have to suffer to exercise it,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth.  Read more

12 Ways You Know There’s A Huge (Magnum) Conspiracy Against Condoms
Thursday, 12 June 2014 13:50

According to new information from the CDC today, condom use among sexually active teens has dropped 4% since 2003. The statistic is troubling, especially since young people experience the highest HIV and sexually transmitted infection rates of any age group. So why are fewer teens using condoms? Well…maybe it’s because we’re telling them that condoms are bad all the time?  Check out and share our Buzzfeed list! 

Remembering Barbara Huberman
Monday, 19 May 2014 06:11

by Advocates for Youth President Deb Hauser

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the death of a true visionary in youth sexual health and rights. Barbara Huberman, Advocates’ Director of Education and Outreach, passed away on Saturday, May 17th, after a brave battle against leukemia.

Barbara had a tremendous influence on our collective work here at Advocates, giving us the Rights.Respect.Responsibility Campaign, the European Study Tour, the National Support Center for State Teen Pregnancy Prevention Organizations, the State Organization Leadership Roundtable, Let's Talk Month, the Parents' Sex Ed Center, and National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, to name just a few.

Prior to coming to Advocates, Barb founded and served for ten years as executive director of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Council of North Carolina.

Slow to speak and quick to smile, Barb was wise, pragmatic and provocative. She taught us all the importance of vision. And she showed us all the power of one.

Barb loved her interns, her friends and her sex-education-themed tools, art, and toys. She loved her family and she loved her work. She believed in all of us so deeply.

We will miss her terribly.

It’s All Connected: Youth Homelessness, Health Access, and the Parental Notification of Abortion Law in Illinois
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:54

 Guest post by Lara Brooks

Lara S. Brooks is a Chicago-based youth worker fighting for transformative justice, queer and trans youth spaces, a never-ending supply of harm reduction options, and holistic health access for youth experiencing homelessness. Brooks works with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health as a youth rights advocate.

During the first week of April 2014, youth leaders rallied at the Illinois state capitol to advocate for their reproductive rights and generate awareness about the dangers of the Parental Notification of Abortion Law (PNA). The Illinois PNA law requires that any person under 18 years of age seeking access to abortion services must have an adult family member (someone who is a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or step-parent who lives with the young person) notified at least 48 hours before a medical provider can perform the abortion. There are similar laws in 38 states around the US.

As a long-time youth worker, sexual assault counselor, and former director of a youth center, I know that young people, navigating complex realities and complicated systems, are making informed and thoughtful decisions about their bodies—something that the very premise of PNA erases altogether. As an advocate and youth ally, I resist that erasure. At the recent youth rally in Springfield, I witnessed how powerful the voices and stories of youth can be when lifted up as part of policy conversations around the reproductive rights of youth.

The dangers of PNA, in combination with existing barriers to abortion access, disproportionately impacts youth who are in danger of or currently experiencing homelessness, housing instability, violence, and neglect. Based on my experiences working with young people, I know the trauma, danger, and crisis induced by PNA directly exacerbates violence, neglect, and homelessness. For already unstably housed young people, parental notification of abortion laws are just as dangerous as laws in other states that require written consent.

Most significantly, PNA does nothing to address the systemic or structural roots of this critical question: What are the lived realities of many young people in Illinois that make it unsafe to inform PNA’s list of approved adults and guardians in the first place?

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