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A Posi+ive Spin

Empowering the youth to take a more proactive role to mitigate the spread of HIV and AIDS particularly among them is the intent of the I AM POSI+IVE project, organized by the Youth AIDS Filipinas Alliance Inc. as a nationwide HIV and AIDS education and awareness campaign by and for young people.

Says YAFA CEO Igor Mocorro: “We need to do something about (HIV). Young people must take a lead to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS among young Filipinos. It is us young people who know what is best for us.” And for YAFA, the I AM POSI+IVE project is a good start to do this.

Empowering the youth to take a more proactive role to mitigate the spread of HIV and AIDS particularly among them.

This, in a gist, is the intent of the I AM POSI+IVE project, organized by the Youth AIDS Filipinas Alliance Inc. (YAFA) as a nationwide HIV and AIDS education and awareness campaign by and for young people.

“The increasing number of cases of HIV, particularly among young people, is alarming,” says YAFA CEO Igor Mocorro, noting that 31% of HIV infection in 2010 was actually among young Filipinos aged 15 to 24 years old. “We need to do something about it. Young people must take a lead to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS among young Filipinos. It is us young people who know what is best for us.”

YAFA is a national youth organization working on HIV and AIDS, as well as sexual and reproductive rights issues. Its key intentions are: to help reduce HIV infections among young Filipino, eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination towards infected and young people, and advocate for the rights of young people to be meaningfully involved at various levels of HIV and AIDS responses.

There are currently 17 I AM POSI+IVE youth ambassadors, who were trained by YAFA to conduct HIV awareness sessions among young people in communities and in schools. As of end-March 2011, the campaign has already visited schools in Tacloban City, select municipalities in Leyte in Eastern Visayas, and Zamboanga City in Western Mindanao. At least 2,000 young people have already been reached.

The campaign is ongoing.

In the end, it is all about “aiming for the active participation of Filipino youth through the use of creative means… to help prevent HIV infection among our contemporaries,” youth ambassador Vermont Arvesu ends.

To bring the I AM POSI+IVE Campaign (YAFA) to your community or to your school, visit YAFA at 2040 Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, City of Manila; call (02) 4899077; email iampositive@youthaidsfilipinasalliance.org; or visit www.youthaidsfilipinasalliance.org.

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