Dear members of The PACT,
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I am able to present to you our strategic agenda to guide our work from 2021 to 2025, a crucial period of time in the global HIV/AIDS response and the start of the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals. This is also a time of renewed commitment by some of the global leaders, with UNAIDS adopting their strategy and countries reaffirming their commitments to HIV at a High-Level Meeting.
Despite progress, the HIV response is off track. Crucially, the response and commitments made to young people, despite us being disproportionately impacted by the AIDS epidemic, have been failed even more so. Now, more than ever, the need for youth leadership from the community grassroots level all the way to the global level is clear.
At The PACT, as a coalition of vibrant member organisations representing young people in all their diversity, we are committed to ensuring that decision makers are held accountable to their commitments to youth, and to supporting our member organisations to do the same. As an organisation committed to an intersectional approach to tackling the issues facing young people in the context of the HIV epidemic, we will support and empower youth working at every level within the HIV response and continue to push for greater accountability by decision-makers to young people.
In this critical period, it is essential that young people are recognised as leaders and visionaries, to push the boundaries of HIV programming and take innovative new approaches to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. The advent of new technologies such as PrEP will not mean anything if the basic needs of young people are not met. Decision-makers need to realise that HIV programming for young people goes beyond providing condoms and HIV tests, and that it encompasses a holistic assessment of the needs of young people to lead a full and healthy life. This is especially crucial in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know what needs to be done. Young people are willing and able to commit. The PACT stands with our members in advocating for decision-makers to do the same.
We stand in solidarity,
The PACT Steering Committee Chair