Meet the Youth Champions for Key Populations in Eastern Europe

Mladen Ćeran

Country: Serbia
Age: 24
Occupation: Outreach worker
Organization: Prevent (Udruženje Prevent)

Who are the Youth Champions?

I am a psychology student and work as an outreach worker for Prevent, a non-governmental organization that supports key populations - mostly sex workers and people who inject drugs. The services we provide range from psychological assistance to HIV and hepatitis testing and the provision of free condoms.

What motivated you personally to get involved in the HIV response?

What got me involved in the HIV response is my motivation as a psychologist to support individuals and improve their quality of life. I am particularly interested in contributing to HIV prevention efforts that focus on reducing societal and institutional stigma and discrimination towards key populations. My goal is to make much needed HIV prevention services more accessible and acceptable for key populations and therefore it is crucial to understand their needs and listen to their recommendations.

What is the topic of your project?

My project, “Advocacy for young people who inject drugs and young sex workers in Serbia”, aims to reduce stigma towards key populations through focus group discussions and dialogues with different local stakeholders, bringing together representatives from social and health services, local government and young people who inject drugs and young sex workers.