The state of play among young people living with HIV
HIV poses a huge threat to young people, with AIDS as the second leading cause of death globally amongst this group.1 Children and young people are subject to unique vulnerabilities that increase their risk to HIV infection, including structural inequalities, mother-to-child transmission, unprotected sex and economic constraints.2 And for those living with the disease, they are particularly vulnerable when confronted with the stigma, discrimination and violence associated with HIV.
Around the world, HIV is the second leading cause of death among young people 1
It is vital that young people are engaged in both education and prevention of HIV messages amongst their global communities. There are many youth group programmes in existence for both those living with HIV and those without. We have identified the gap in these programmes is the opportunity for young people to learn core business skills. There was a need to not only educate, but to develop young leaders working in the programmes with those living with HIV with personal and business skillset and provide a safe space for expression. Helping them feel supported and inspired to spread awareness and instigate change within their own communities.
Alongside key HIV organisations, ViiV Healthcare were part of a group that came together at IAC 2016 to devise the programme to further support young people with business skills around the world. All partners agreed upon a programme that would create a unifying and interactive environment to help increase the impact the programme will have on young people.
Out of this discussion came SPARK.
The idea was simple creating a joint a programme devised to ignite change and empower young people by equipping them with the skills to communicate, inspire and enact change.
We wanted to enhance knowledge, allow free thinking and genuine expression to make a real difference.