Monday, 9 July 2018, London, United Kingdom - The Duke of Sussex will join Sentebale Let Youth Lead Advocates from Lesotho and Botswana, at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During his two-day visit The Duke will meet with young people, partner organizations and key influential leaders in the HIV response in his capacity as Patron of Sentebale on 23 Monday and 24 Tuesday July 2018.
“We are truly honoured to have His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex join us for the second time at the International AIDS Conference,” said President of the International AIDS Society and AIDS 2018 Co-Chair Linda-Gail Bekker. “His genuine commitment to the fight against AIDS is inspiring a whole new generation of leaders and reminding the world that AIDS is not over. We are so grateful to him for his leadership in the HIV response and the strong collaboration between Sentebale and the International AIDS Society.”
The International AIDS Conference is the largest gathering on HIV and AIDS in the world, bringing together over 15,000 scientists, activists, health providers, policy makers and global leaders. The conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic.
His Royal Highness’ participation at the AIDS 2018 conference will advance the ambition of Sentebale’s advocacy programme, Let Youth Lead. Launched in 2017, the programme provides a platform for youth to encourage their peers to know and manage their HIV status, and to drive positive change in HIV interventions that better support the needs of this age group in their region.
The World Health Organisation reports that HIV remains one of the leading causes of death in adolescents in Africa; Lesotho and Botswana have the second and third highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world, and nearly 7,500 young women become newly infected with HIV every week (UNAIDS, 2015). The fear of what others may think, a lack of self-confidence, and too often a hostile response from health care professionals result in youth shying away from accessing health services that are available to them.
Cathy Ferrier, Sentebale CEO, commented, “It is a privilege for Sentebale to be participating in The 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. This year, we are joined by Sentebale youth advocates from Lesotho and Botswana who work to raise the voice of their generation through Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead programme. Their involvement in the conference reflects the progress Sentebale has made in the global response to addressing adolescent HIV since Durban in 2016 and I am delighted that they will be leading the conversation alongside our Patron The Duke of Sussex in Amsterdam.”
The Duke previously attended The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa, participating in a special session with Sir Elton John discussing issues facing young people living with HIV.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Head of Marketing & Communications, Sentebale
Tel : +44 (0) 20 7730 0226 / +44 (0) 7825 745172 | E-mail: [email protected]
Parts of The Duke's visit will be covered by media accredited to the Conference. For further information on how to accredit for the event, please visit the 'Media Centre' pages on https://www.aids2018.org/.
Notes to Editors:
Sentebale is a charity Co-Founded by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006. The charity began working in Lesotho, a small, land-locked country in South Africa, with an aim to rewrite the future for the children and young people affected by HIV, providing the thousands of children and young people affected by the virus with vital access to care, education and, critically, psychosocial support.
In 2015, Sentebale announced plans to expand into several southern Africa countries by 2020, delivering psychosocial support to 10 to 19 year olds who were struggling to come to terms with living with HIV. In 2016, Sentebale launched in Botswana, and during the financial year ending on 31st August 2016, the charity, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, delivered adolescent-friendly HIV testing and counselling services to over 16,500 people. Today, the charity supports over 4,000 young people a year through the clubs and camps programme.
Despite progress to date, globally 1,700 new HIV infections occur every day among young people (UNAIDS, 2017) and there remain many more adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa unaware of their HIV status and afraid to get tested.
In line with the UNAIDS Fast-track targets, Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead advocacy programme aims to encourage all youth in southern Africa to know and manage their HIV status by 2020. Through youth-led campaigning and advocacy, the ambition is to allow the voices of youth affected by HIV and AIDS to be heard and to change adult attitudes towards these young people. The programme also addresses the lack of youth-friendly health services and sexual reproductive health taught in schools, and will aim to strengthen leaders’ commitment to help young people affected by HIV/AIDS. www.sentebale.org
Twitter/Instagram: @Sentebale Facebook: SentebaleOfficial
About the International AIDS Society: The mission of the International AIDS Society (IAS) is to lead collective action on every front of the global HIV response through its membership base, scientific authority and convening power. Founded in 1988, the IAS is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members from more than 180 countries working on all fronts of the global response to HIV. Together, we advocate and drive urgent action to reduce the global impact of HIV. The IAS is also the steward of the world’s two most prestigious HIV conferences: the International AIDS Conference and the IAS Conference on HIV Science. For more information, visit www.iasociety.org.