Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Celebrating National Youth and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:20

In celebration of National Youth and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) Ambassador Florida Mwesiga encourages teens to take ownership of their health and get tested for HIV.This article originally appeared on the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation blog.  

So, I’ve got a question for you, and I’m going to be honest with you if you’re straight with me. Okay?

How much do you know about HIV and AIDS? A little, a lot, or not much at all?

I bet the honest answer is the last one – not much at all – and seriously, that’s scary.

HIV/AIDS is real, it’s not a joke and it’s affecting teens around the world. Young people make up almost 42 percent of new HIV infections.

What’s really scary is that the majority of teens living with HIV don’t even know it.  Today’s teenagers are a part of the largest generation of adolescents and young people ever recorded. There are more than 1.6 billion of us, and we’re growing up in a fast-paced, dynamic and interconnected world.

In the ideal version of that world, we would all be sitting at home, doing our homework at night, and watching sitcoms on TV. I’m a 16-year-old in 2014 – I hang out, I take #selfies, I go to parties, and I like to have fun.

But somewhere there is a girl, just like me – who likes to hang out, and likes to have fun – only she is living with HIV. For her, and the millions of other teens living with this virus, simply living to see another birthday is a miracle.

I could have been that girl. My mother is HIV-positive, but I am HIV-free thanks to the steps she took when she was pregnant with me to make sure that I didn’t have to grow up living with the virus that has dominated her life. Not everyone is as fortunate.

Today (April 10) is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and in the spirit of honesty, I’m starting a new trending topic. Let’s talk about HIV and AIDS. Let’s be honest with each other about how you can contract the virus.

Don’t know anything about HIV? Great! Learn about it.

I’m 16 and I have my whole life ahead of me.  I want to be there to live it on my terms and I can’t afford for something like HIV to hold me back. Neither can you.      

National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day
Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:17

Young people across the country are hosting events to show how youth are uniquely impacted by HIV; the barriers they face in prevention, testing, and care; and how best to translate these experiences into real action for an AIDS-free generation. All you have to do is check out the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Map to see the amazing power of youth activism.

Won’t you join them? Beyond the jump are 5 great ways you can participate in NYHAAD this year. And don’t forget to hop on our Huffington Post LIVE segment TONIGHT at 5:30 PM EST.

Thank you for joining us!

The Countdown to NYHAAD Has Begun!
Monday, 07 April 2014 12:57

by Sulava Gautam-Adhikary, Program Coordinator, Health and Social Equity  

The countdown to National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day has officially begun! Join thousands of youth activists and their allies across the nation who are planning events for the day.

To help kick-start your planning for April 10, check out the following toolkits:

  • The Online Campaign Starter Kit includes a wide range of materials including how to get involved in the official #NYHAAD photo campaign; how to create personal video messages; and how to engage on Facebook and on Twitter!
  • The Media Toolkit includes a press release, templates and tips on how to give an interview; and how to get your own local proclamation recognizing the day!

We’re so excited for you to join us in commemorating the second annual National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day on April 10, 2014! Don’t forget to register your event so we can showcase all the great things happening on the day.



Week of Artivism!
Monday, 31 March 2014 11:53

1 in 3: These Are Our Stories - paperback book now available!1in3-afy-flash

Art begins with resistance.” - André Gide

Art has great power. It can get your attention. It can make you think. It can even change your mind. That’s why art can be such a powerful tool for activists. Now we’re asking you to use that power to change the conversation around abortion.

Host a 1 in 3 Week of Artivism event to showcase people’s real stories of experiences with abortion.

During the week of April 21-27, activists around the country will host 1 in 3 Week of Artivism events to bring new audiences to the real stories about abortion experience which people have shared with the 1 in 3 Campaign. You can participate by reserving a space on your campus or community and setting up an interactive display of stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.

We’ll send you a “display in a box.” You assemble, personalize, and set up the exhibit. You don’t have to be Picasso to participate - you just need a display space and some time to construct the display.

Rally at the Supreme Court
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:22

1 in 3: These Are Our Stories - paperback book now available!1in3-afy-flash

In the words of ROCK STAR youth activist Kirin Gupta, "“What is at stake today is an issue of sexism, classism, and oppression. It is the control exercised by money and power of a few who are twisting our country’s freedom of religion to deny basic freedoms to young, often already marginalized bodies. These choices are ours—not our schools, not our bosses, not anyone else’s.”

Today's Supreme Court hearing on contraception and religious liberty was a big deal and we could not be more proud of the response from our friends, allies, co-workers, partner orgs, and youth activists all around the country.  Our voices have been heard, and we are watching!  Check out video of Kirin's speech!

Visit #DearSCOTUS for a comprehensive look at all that went down today, but here are a few pics too!  

March 25: All Eyes on the Supreme Court
Thursday, 20 March 2014 07:12


On March 25, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases - two corporations which have sued in order to deny coverage for birth control to their employees.  This coverage for basic health care is required under the Affordable Care Act.  But corporations have declared that their personal objections to birth control should mean that none of their employees should have it covered.  These two court cases are important not just because the right to health care is in danger, but because the current debate around religious liberty could have far-reaching effects.  A decision in favor of the two companies could open the door for employers to deny coverage for anything they disagree with, including mental health, LGBT care, and coverage of dependents.  And it could lead to more laws like the anti-LGBT law recently vetoed in Arizona.

Corporations shouldn't get a free pass to discriminate.  Join us in person or online as we demonstrate against the co-opting of religious liberty.

Twisting of Religious Liberty
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 06:42

by Amber Morley Rieke, Special Projects Fellow

The Supreme Court is about to hear two challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that private insurance plans cover contraception for women with a prescription at no out-of-pocket cost. In Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, owners of for-profit companies argue that the requirement violates their religious freedom. They want the same exemptions from the mandate that religious institutions receive.

As we wait for the Court’s decisions, which should come by June, women of all ages are paying less for essential health services and prescriptions. The rulings could ensure contraceptive coverage continues, or force the government to exempt companies as well as churches. Thousands, or millions, of women could lose access to affordable contraception.

No more “free passes” to discriminate
Friday, 14 March 2014 07:52

Should corporations be given a free pass to discriminate against their employees?

That’s what the Supreme Court will be deciding on March 25 when they will hear cases from two corporations that object to providing insurance which includes coverage for birth control.

Be a part of an online picket line. Make your voice heard on our #DearSCOTUS Digital Soapbox.

Share your thoughts about why affordable and available contraception is important, what you think about the co-opting of religious liberty, and what’s at stake for you. Through your blogs, Instagram pics and video, YouTube clips and tweets we’ll capture an online picket line in solidarity with those protesting at the Supreme Court. All you have to do is use the hashtag #DearSCOTUS. So make a sign, record a video, or write a blog and join the protest.

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