What is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day?
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people as well as highlight the amazing work young people are doing across the country to fight the HIV & AIDS epidemic.
When is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day?
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is an annual observance that takes place on April 10. The first ever National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day took place on April 10, 2013.
Why is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day important?
Today’s young people are the first generation who have never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, one in four new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24. Every month 1,000 young people are infected with HIV and over 76,400 young people are currently living with HIV across the country. While there has been much talk about an AIDS-Free Generation, we know that is not possible without our nation’s youth. Young people and their allies are determined to end this epidemic once and for all and this day is a way to acknowledge the great work young people are already engaging in to do so.
Where will National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day be celebrated?
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day will be celebrated all across the country. There will be events hosted by various organizations and individuals in high schools, colleges, churches, community centers and more! There also will be opportunities for online participation.
How do I commemorate National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day?
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to learn about HIV & AIDS and how young people are affected. It is also an opportunity to show support for the cause while educating others. You could send tweets, host an event, get tested, table on your campus, and more! Check out the resources toolkit for more ideas on ways to engage.
How do I prepare?
If you plan on hosting an event, make sure to plan adequately so that there is enough time to get the word out and organize whatever resources that you might need. If you are hosting an event, make sure you have a venue and an agenda. Check out the resources toolkit for more information.
How do I find events near me for National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day?
Check out our events map to find an event registered near you. If you do not see an event, think about hosting your own!
How do I get other young people to participate?
Spread the word via social media, word of mouth, or hand out flyers in your area. Share some facts with your peers and stress the importance of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. Follow us on twitter, and like us on facebook to get updates on more resources as the day approaches!
HIV & AIDS FAQ
HIV is a virus which causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS weakens the body's immune system (your defense against infections) so that it loses the ability to fight off infection and illnesses.
How is HIV transmitted?
How can someone get tested for HIV?
What are some strategies to reduce the risk of HIV transmission?
Where did HIV come from?
Do all people with HIV have AIDS? Does having HIV mean you will become sick immediately?
How many people in the US are living with HIV?
How many young people in the US are infected with HIV?
For more info check out:
Youth Ambassador Program
2014 National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day
Youth Ambassador Application
What is the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) Youth Ambassador Program? The National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) Youth Ambassador Program consists of young leaders and activists who come together to promote prevention, treatment, care, and youth empowerment.
Meet the 2014 Youth Ambassadors!
I first became involved with sexual health activism in college when I first encountered feminism. I began to learn about the systems of sexual oppression working against women, people of color, and LGBT individuals. I was moved and knew this was the area I wanted to dedicate my life to. I am currently pursing my master’s degree in women’s and gender studies at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Grappling with these issues and working alongside fellow activists has been a humbling experience in building solidarity and learning to work with – not for – communities.
While reading the news one day in the fall of 2012, I came across an article about the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and HIV Prevention out of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Upon reading how the center uses a multidisciplinary approach to care for and work with adolescents and young adults most at risk for acquiring HIV, my heart leaped: I knew this was a movement I needed to be a part of. As the center’s data manager, I use my research skills to assist with NIH-funded programs geared towards helping young transgender women of color and young men who have sex with men (YMSM) of color in developing novel behavioral interventions to reduce HIV infection. When one in four new cases of HIV in the United States occurs among young people, and when transgender individuals and YMSM are disproportionately affected, we must take action as a country to address this epidemic.
My hope is to encourage all youth and adolescents to be able to openly and honestly talk about HIV and AIDS in order to reduce the stigma attached to it. Through our work as young activists rooted in equality, truth, and love, we can completely change the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and work towards our goal of becoming an AIDS-Free Generation.
I am Alexander, or Xander for short, a young gay Latino man born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I first encountered the field of HIV prevention 7 years ago when I was seeking help with dealing with coming out issues. I entered the field of HIV prevention as client and soon after became a volunteer for the Mpowerment project at Bienestar Human Services, a community-level intervention based out of Hollywood. I got my first job in the field at Bienestar as a health educator and then became a certified HIV counselor and tester. I was instrumental in both their youth program and their prevention outreach.
I have advocated for prevention programs in the Latino and LGBT Communities and presented on different topics that impact youth. I currently work for the Risk Reduction Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a Health Educator for the LIFE project, which encourages young gay and bisexual men to have conversations about sex positivity and sexual health. I received the Paul Andrew Starke WARRIOR Award in 2012 for my years of volunteer service and was also recently selected as a Young Professional Scholar to attend The United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) in New Orleans held on September 2013. I am about to complete my A.A. Degree at Los Angeles City College and working towards a B.A in Deaf Studies in order to better serve youth from different communities including LGBT, deaf/hard-of-hearing, and other undeserved youth. My unique background is the base for the passion and commitment to the community I am part of.
I am a senior at Connecticut College studying government and gender and women’s studies with a certificate in public policy and Community Action. I am a spoken word poet, dancer, writer, and avid blogger.
My personal and professional experiences have motivated me to become a youth advocate and HIV activist. For the past year, I have been fervently involved in HIV outreach, testing, education, and other HIV prevention efforts within my community and beyond. I like to share how I am affected by HIV and its impact on my life with my peers in order to empower them to take control over their sexual health and wellbeing as a whole. This motivated me to make a difference within this area on a larger scale as a Youth Ambassador for National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day.
When I was only fourteen years old, I lost my loving mother due to HIV. However, my family did not inform me of my mother’s HIV status until three years after her passing, which was due in part to the stigma associated with the virus. Nearly six years following my mother’s death, I took on an internship at the Minority Health Consortium Inc., which gave me the opportunity to do work related to HIV advocacy and prevention. During my internship training, I tested myself for HIV through a rapid oral test. This was the first time that I had ever tested for HIV and I primarily carried out the test as part of my training. Unexpectedly, I obtained a positive test result. This revelation ultimately amplified my passion for HIV and youth advocacy and reminded me of the importance of knowing my status in order to promote and protect the sexual health of myself and others
I once thought that I was “invincible” since my risk factors for obtaining the virus were minimal and I seldom thought of the possibility of acquiring HIV from my mother. Therefore, I did not make testing for HIV a priority. That was a huge mistake. Knowing my status and getting the care that I need has helped to prolong my life and motivated me to reach out to others who may also be infected and are not yet aware of their status. My hope is that through my work as a Youth Ambassador, I can start making more meaningful changes among the youth and most importantly, I can also encourage the youth to get tested regularly and protect themselves as well as others.
Gioconda Belli, a Nicaraguan feminist revolutionary once said, “Dare to change the world. There is nothing quixotic or romantic in wanting to change the world. It is possible. It is the age-old vocation of all humanity. I can't think of a better life than one dedicated to passion, to dreams, to the stubbornness th at defies chaos and disillusionment." I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies with a minor in French and Sociology, from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire in 2011. Having recently returned from Cameroon after serving as a Community Health Volunteer in the Peace Corps, I was inspired to pursue my passion for health and prevention education by accepting a position to serve at the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response center (STAR) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with AmeriCorps. Prior to my roles in national service, I worked as a Prevention Intern for an HIV/AIDS resource center; and as a Direct Support Professional for people living with cognitive and developmental disabilities. I believe that genuine and progressive change takes opening up discussions with youth and community partners about gender-based traumas, what a healthy individual and relationship looks like, ways to set and respect boundaries, managing anger, praising bystander engagement, and teaching about risk factors. I believe that good work is a fluid concept. Things may not always end up how we think they will. Good work is about collaboration, working as a team, listening to other people’s opinions, and knowing how and when to focus. I believe good work takes patience and flexibility. Good work requires full commitment from start to finish. It is quality vs. quantity. I am passionate about the work that I have done and the work I continue to do. Social justice is not always easy, but it is worthy.
Me llamo Edric; I’m a first generation Peruano-Americano with organizing roots planted in the dirty south. I was born in NY, but Georgia is where I call home. As a queer person and the son of two immigrants, I struggled to navigate both identities and became critical of systems of assimilation that erase cultures and create stratification. I learned to use ‘la lucha de adrento’ as a means to challenge the oppressive systems that exist outside ourselves.
At the time of my first HIV test I was 17 and living in an ultra-conservative suburb of Georgia. My boyfriend and I paid over $100 dollars for just one of us to get tested for HIV. We made sure the lab was far enough a distance from our homes- if recognized getting tested together, we risked losing our jobs and friends. My fear during this first test was as piercing as the needle that the apathy filled clinic worker struck into my vein. I didn't have the academic, or life experience, at the time to recognize that this very thing I was experiencing was called ‘stigma’.
I still remember the day I walked into my first college class and my professor said “Don’t worry what others think of you or what you did wrong in the past. Be tireless, passionate, and a visionary for your future.” Those memorable words have stuck as my motto as I carry out my college career as a student and advocate.
As a gay Latino from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas throughout my teenager years I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble. It was as if I lived two different lives: a straight son to my parents and a bubbly, gay friend to others. Stemming from culture and tradition, it was as if I wasn’t allowed to “be who I was”. Then, that’s when college hit me; I’ve been able to explore and understand what it means to be a gay male. I used my experiences as a teenager to fuel my passion for advocacy in the arena of gay rights and sexual health. If you would ask any person who knows me, they would say that what keeps my drum beating is my passion for advocacy. I consider myself a proud student leader at my university. In spring 2013, I undertook the role as a Youth Ambassador for National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. My area of advocacy lies within the ever-growing circle of social justice, specifically HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
I believe that knowledge is the key to solve many social issues. LGBT youth need exposure to understand social adversities; however, they also need to be mobilized to act on these issues. Youth, like me, can move mountains as powerhouses of active citizens and advocates of social issues that need to be solved. I’ve learned we have come a long way as a society to accept these challenges and take actions on them, however, I believe that there is more to be done. However, it all starts with a call to action—people to fight for justice, voices to scream and raise hell, the courage to do what is right. It all begins with one person, one idea, and one action—all are a step in the right direction.
At an early age, my parents often told me how Haitians were one of the first groups to be associated with the virus, labeling our people as AIDS carriers during the early years of the epidemic. Despite the significant progresses we’ve made in the fight against ending this disease, the effects of stigma continue to malign young LGBTQ people inside the walls and behind the pulpit of the Church - keeping them from seeking the care and the support to live an enriched life.
Growing up in the Church, it pained me to witness my friends get infected with HIV, and see the lack of commitment, motivation and passion on the part of faith-leaders to honestly address sexual health issues with young people, and their failure in following what they preached. Although I felt helpless, I knew things had to change and that I was being called to be involved in the fight to advocate for youth living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. I decided to educate myself about the disease in order to better understand, support and care for those affected by the virus and break the cultural silence that is associated with the epidemic.
I’m committed to raise awareness of the importance of sexuality education, and having access to necessary information and services for sexual and reproductive health that are age-appropriate and LGBT-inclusive for all youth in places of worship. I’m dedicated to empowering young people to become the creators and actors of change who will pave the way to a future in which young people across the globe who are living with HIV and AIDS can lead a positive and healthy life in a world with less ignorance and prejudices, a place where HIV and AIDS will be a thing of the past.
As a high school junior in the South, I am no stranger to the injustices and misinformation surrounding sexual health education. A year ago, I felt a strong call to start volunteering and making a change any way I could. While looking for service opportunities, I discovered the Birmingham AIDS Outreach. I joined their Youth Advisory Council, a group dedicated to serving and educating youth about preventing HIV and other STI’s. Being a part of this group changed my life, and lead to planning the first ever HIV/AIDS Youth Awareness Day concert event in Alabama as well as having the opportunity to lobby for better sexual health education. It is from all these events and amazing people that I have met along the way that I learned about Advocates for Youth and the amazing work youth advocates are doing not only for my state, but also for this country.
I am thrilled to be serving fellow youth as an ambassador for National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2014. My goal is to inspire passion in youth to make a change and fight for equality and justice. It is not without the passion and diligence of youth that this will be accomplished; we should not view neutrality on issues as important as this as an option. I envision a nation in which accurate sexual health education is easily accessible to everyone, regardless of sexuality or background.
In 2010, I was a freshman in college and had just lost my Uncle to AIDS. Although his death was very difficult for me, it sparked an unwavering desire in me to learn more about the disease and why many people like him were stigmatized. Finding myself engulfed in the research, it became more and more apparent to me how important HIV prevention and awareness is. It was then that my life had forever changed. I had found my purpose in life and made a promise to myself to educate others on sexually transmitted diseases and promote safe sexual health decisions.
My undergraduate work as a member of Syracuse University student organization, Sex S.Y.M.B.A.L.S. fueled my passion and advocacy, as I was able to engage my fellow peers on informative and engaging sexual health topics that needed to be had. Now, as a Public Health graduate student and an adolescent health educator, I am dedicated to further advocating and empowering youth to make safe sexual decisions and for them to take a responsible stance for their health. We need to consistently have these important conversations with one another and to shed light on topics that are often left in the dark until it is too late. Our voices need to be heard in order to ensure that the next generation is an AIDS free generation!
Growing up in Texas, I have personally experienced the social and economic consequences of political inaction. I have lost loved ones to HIV/AIDS in the late 90's that could have been spared if there was greater access to information regarding treatment and the spread of the epidemic. I joined FACE AIDS, a non-profit student run organization that mobilizes students in the fight to end AIDS, my sophomore year of college at the University of Texas, Austin. Working on a cause so close to my heart showed me the power of youth movements and the importance of peer-education. As the Events Coordinator for FACE AIDS I have been given the opportunity to transform my passion into successful advocacy. Awareness is the backbone of any social movement and it is the key to ignite and mobilize change.
We are living in an age of information. Millennials have the unique privilege of viewing the world with all its interconnections. As youths, we are discovering ourselves, our values and our rights. We already have the attitude and environment to demand change for our communities. It is with the proper leadership and direction that we can take a group of fiery decentralized youths and rally them together so that their voices are finally heard.
I am a young, gay, black man who currently lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was born on January 9, 1989 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. My father made the United States Army his career and my mother works in the government sector. I have two brothers and a twin sister. I work as the Testing Coordinator at The Fredericksburg Area HIV AIDS Support Services (FAHASS) and I’m in school to gain my degree in Public Health.
After being diagnosed with HIV in 2011 and noticing an absence of young people advocating about social issues, I decided to dedicate my life to being involved in the LGBTQ community on issues surrounding social justice and health education. Through my work I promote HIV testing and education as well as expanded services for HIV prevention and treatment. I have chosen to live my life working alongside like-minded people towards the goal of ending AIDS for good; getting new HIV infections down to zero; and finding a cure or vaccine for HIV.
I am also currently on The National Minority AIDS Council’s HIV Leadership Working Group for their Health Literacy and Wellness Initiative and the Youth Advisory Committee for NMAC’s Youth Initiative to End HIV/AIDS in America. These platforms allow me to share and voice my thoughts and opinions on strategies that benefit people living with HIV.
My life is always eventful and the varying experiences are what make it so unique. I’m always appreciative of my FAMILY (that word is so much stronger than fans) and appreciate all that they do!
“In this fight we all possess skills and attributes that make each and every one of us valuable. Let’s work together to ensure that we defeat HIV once and for all!” – Patrick Ingram
As a Pakistan-Guyanese queer Muslim young woman, explaining my several identities and their intersections poses an interesting challenge. Growing up in Miami, I quickly realized that my hometown was far more diverse and tolerant than my college's campus. I felt as if the mainly white student body and social influence silenced my voice, in addition to the voices of other women of color. Because of this, I started to research more about my identities and my passion for women's health and depictions in society. Since most people have false preconceived notions of women of my identities, my interest in education and outreach started after my first semester freshman year.
When it comes to reproductive and sexual health, I find myself in a tug of war. With South Asian parents, these topics were almost always never mentioned; if they were mentioned, neither of my parents provided any concrete information. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many South Asian children. Surprisingly, I haven't met much conflict when discussing these topics in the Muslim community, but rather a warm welcome of "Hey, I've been waiting to meet more women like you."
Because of my experiences and my personal interests in reproductive and sexual health, social justice, and human rights, I have decided to serve as an advocate for these topics and change the lives of my peers and others. Currently, I am a third-year student at Boston University studying psychology and public health. I plan to pursue a career in public health, community outreach, and advocacy after earning an MPH. My primary interests are the intersections of immigration, reproductive justice, and sexual violence in communities of color.
My activities include formerly interning at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Florida Immigrant Coalition. I have also volunteered for SAVE Dade and at the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism (CGSA). I currently intern at Planned Parenthood and serve as an advocate for the voices of Asian American students with my involvement with the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) and the Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund (APIASF). I want to provide young people of color the knowledge with knowledge about sexual health, research health disparities among women of color with a focus on South Asian women, and advocate for queer rights.
My life as a health activists and advocate started really took off after my sophomore year of high school. That summer I participated in the Telluride Association Sophomore Seminar and took a class entitled "Health and Illness in the African-American Community: A Social and Neurobiological Perspective," and it was this experience that gave me the tools to understand and verbalize the health disparities I had seen in my community for years. I am currently a junior at Yale University studying environmental engineering, and as I continue to educate myself about structural barriers to health equity, I posit that the most important thing to do is lift as I climb. Youth advocacy and activism allows me to do just that. As it relates to HIV/AIDS our country has made tremendous strides but we admittedly have a long way to go especially as it relates to youth and HIV/AIDS. In the summer of 2013 I was named a Youth Scholar by the National Minority AIDS Council and had the privilege of working with 20 other passionate youth health activists. This experience assured me that as long as we always engage and support passionate young people, our future's trajectory will be a positive one and I am simply honored to be a part of this changing narrative.
What can my group do to observe NYHAAD? Use these awesome resources and ideas for events to jumpstart your day.
Check Out the NYHAAD Campaign Starter Kit
Fast Facts About HIV
Download and share these fast facts about HIV!
Download and print out quartersheets to hand out
Ideas for Great NYHAAD Events
Recent news and commentary on HIV/AIDS.