Every year on December 1st, World AIDS Day is a worldwide commemoration to remember those who have died from AIDS and honor those currently living with HIV. As a global community, it is our duty to unite to support those affected by HIV/AIDS and seek to foster innovation and research to improve the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations. Specifically, 4 Youth By Youth emphasizes HIV prevention through youth engagement and creates opportunity for all by focusing on prevention continuum for healthier sustainable living.
The theme of World AIDS Day 2020 is Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility. COVID-19 has openly targeted those who are marginalized or vulnerable. It has highlighted the stigma, discrimination, and inequalities in our global communities. But it has also allowed us to join together, support, and lead each other in a direction of change. It is our responsibility to act. To empower. To create new opportunities for all. In respect to COVID-19, our mission with HIV is the same.
To put the COVID-19 measures in the context of HIV activities, access to clinical and community-based support, the overburdening public health providers, and food insecurity may have negative effects on HIV prevention and care in Sub-Saharan Africa due to in-county restrictions. However, in the global fight for an AIDS-free generation, the pandemic has taught us the power of innovation, community, and leadership. Thus, in the same way we should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also respond to HIV. The work done to combat HIV/AIDS will bring additional hope now and for future generations, and we can fight towards a healthier, more equitable world.
This year’s 4 Youth By Youth contest is centered on how to promote HIV self-testing among young people during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has presented unprecedented times, and while not to undermine the mental and physical toll it has placed on some, there have been moments of hope in the collective actions communities have taken to come up with solutions to combat the virus. Particularly, young Nigerians have embraced creativity and innovation and relied on the power they possess when positively shaping their communities. There have been innovations related to UNICEF’s COVID-19 design challenge, allowing young Nigerians to tackle COVID-19 in their communities, to sanitation efforts, and even those of data forecasting using social media. These efforts highlight the importance of youth ideas being brought to the forefront and inform what may come of similar innovations as it relates to HIV self-testing (HIVST).
The 2020 World AIDS Day contest will be held virtually. While previous years have been in-person, the virtual nature calls for youth to engage in ways that may be somewhat unfamiliar, but can still have positive benefits. With this year’s contest, we want youth to know that their voice matters in the promotion of HIVST. Components of the 2020 World AIDS Day contest may look different, but the ideas that youth bring, and their participation, will be admired, taking in all that went into the year. We hope that a virtual setting will increase youth participation throughout Nigeria and will cultivate rich ideas given youth experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 presents a unique time to continue to take action, and not only advance healthier agendas, but also continue to push the envelope on HIV prevention.
The application for the Worlds AIDS Day HIV Self-Testing Contest launched on November 2, 2020, and the submission deadline is on November 22, 2020 by 11:59 pm WAT. We are looking for innovative ideas on “how YOU will promote HIV Self-Testing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic”. To participate:
1. You must be between the ages of 14 to 24 years and reside in Nigeria
2. Submit your ideas online using the following link: http://bit.ly/4ybyidea20
3. You may also submit offline by downloading the form at http://bit.ly/4YBYregistrationform20
4. Or submit a hard-copy to NIMR Dropbox located at: Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Clinical Sciences Department, 6 Edmund crescent off Murtala Mohammed Way, Yaba, Lagos
5. Submit offline form via email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop-off at NIMR’s address
6. Ideas will be shortlisted by November 25, 2020, and qualifying participants will be notified
7. You may also visit our website at 4YBY.org for more information.
4 Youth by Youth is a team of young people, health professionals, activists, and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, who are united by the shared passion to advance Nigerian youth participation in creating innovative, sustainable HIV services. Our hope is that we provide young people with the platform, training, and support to share, refine, and implement their ideas, to change the narrative of the epidemic and center the voices and needs of young people in the fight against HIV. Innovative Tool to Expand youth-friendly HIV Self-Testing (I-TEST) research project is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, with Grant Award Number: 1UG3HD096929.
References used to inform article content:
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- UNESCO: Building Peace in the Lives of Men and Women. (2019). Webinar “Unleashing African Youth Innovation and Creativity Potential during and post-COVID-19.” Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/events/webinar-unleashing-african-youth-innovation-and-creativity-potential-during-and-post-covid-19
- United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner. (2020). Statement on COVID-19 & Youth-United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Youth/COVID-19_and_Youth.pdf
- WORLD AIDS DAY 2020. (2020). Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/world-aids-day-2020