Alicia Keys: Let's Fight HIV Together
By Alicia Keys and Cristina Jade Peña Special to CNN | 9/29/2013, noon
But for all of our progress, we are still failing this generation.
In the United States, young gay men and young women and men of color are particularly vulnerable to HIV. In terms of rates of infection, vulnerability, impact and -- most important to us -- the enormous potential to turn this epidemic around, young people are at the center of the HIV epidemic.
Despite this, most HIV treatment programs and policies are designed for children or adults, leaving young people caught in the middle of programs that fall short in meeting their special needs.
The good news is that across the world, young people are uniting to demand a seat at the table. They are demanding attention from their communities, health facilities, schools, governments and leaders.
At Keep a Child Alive, we believe in nurturing a strong, true and loud collective voice from our world's young people. We recently launched, 5MIL, a new initiative that seeks to address the needs of their generation as it relates to HIV.
Over the next few months, we will roll out 5MIL: Hangout, a youth-led platform to connect young advocates living with HIV and affected by HIV from Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and the United States. This grassroots, virtual dialogue is about fostering a safe space for young people to come together and talk openly about HIV, share challenges and solutions and connect directly with influential leaders.
We are calling for action from all young people around the world living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and the global community to join this movement.
Get loud! Talk, blog, tweet and text truths about HIV. By talking openly, we can take the power away from silence and fear and put it in the hands of knowledge, acceptance and love.
Tap into the Y-potential: Young people are passionate -- let's harness their energy and willingness to think boldly and take risks. Ask young people what they think and what ideas they have to turn the tide of HIV for their generation, their community and themselves.
Know your status: Get an HIV test and talk to young people about testing, prevention -- including using condoms and having good sexual health -- and treatment if they are positive.
AIDS isn't over yet. And it won't be without including young people in the conversation. We believe in a world where young people living with HIV and its effects can lead a life without fear. You believe they can thrive and follow their dreams.
I hope you will join us in our efforts to bring awareness and money to organizations such as Keep a Child Alive. Together, we are loud, proud, and strong!
And please tune into live streaming of the Global Citizen Festival this Saturday in Central Park, New York. I'll be performing, as well as John Mayer, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder and Elvis Costello. It's organized by the Global Poverty Project.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alicia Keys and Cristina Jade Peña.
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