July 10, 2018
Written by International AIDS Society
This article originally appeared on the AIDS 2018 website. Reposted with permission.
Monday, 9 July 2018, London, United Kingdom – The Duke of Sussex will join Sentebale Let Youth Lead Advocates from Lesotho and Botswana, at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During his two-day visit The Duke will meet with young people, partner organizations and key influential leaders in the HIV response in his capacity as Patron of Sentebale on 23 Monday and 24 Tuesday July 2018.
“We are truly honoured to have His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex join us for the second time at the International AIDS Conference,” said President of the International AIDS Society and AIDS 2018 Co-Chair Linda-Gail Bekker. “His genuine commitment to the fight against AIDS is inspiring a whole new generation of leaders and reminding the world that AIDS is not over. We are so grateful to him for his leadership in the HIV response and the strong collaboration between Sentebale and the International AIDS Society.”
The International AIDS Conference is the largest gathering on HIV and AIDS in the world, bringing together over 15,000 scientists, activists, health providers, policy makers and global leaders. The conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic.
His Royal Highness’ participation at the AIDS 2018 conference will advance the ambition of Sentebale’s advocacy programme, Let Youth Lead. Launched in 2017, the programme provides a platform for youth to encourage their peers to know and manage their HIV status, and to drive positive change in HIV interventions that better support the needs of this age group in their region.
The World Health Organisation reports that HIV remains one of the leading causes of death in adolescents in Africa; Lesotho and Botswana have the second and third highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world, and nearly 7,500 young women become newly infected with HIV every week (UNAIDS, 2015). The fear of what others may think, a lack of self-confidence, and too often a hostile response from health care professionals result in youth shying away from accessing health services that are available to them.
Cathy Ferrier, Sentebale CEO, commented, “It is a privilege for Sentebale to be participating in The 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. This year, we are joined by Sentebale youth advocates from Lesotho and Botswana who work to raise the voice of their generation through Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead programme. Their involvement in the conference reflects the progress Sentebale has made in the global response to addressing adolescent HIV since Durban in 2016 and I am delighted that they will be leading the conversation alongside our Patron The Duke of Sussex in Amsterdam.”
The Duke previously attended The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa, participating in a special session with Sir Elton John discussing issues facing young people living with HIV.