Nairobi, Kenya: Did you know that AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa and the second highest cause of death among adolescents globally? Did you also know that adolescents are the only age group where deaths due to Aids are not decreasing? If you didn’t, now you know.
Since adolescents and youth are a critical segment of the population in every aspect, it is important that their health is safeguarded for them to mature properly and contribute to society. It is for this reason that National Aids Control Council and partners decided to rally men and women of goodwill to join hands in securing the environment in which the youth and adolescents live in. This is being carried out through the All In Campaign which has set out to fast track the Aids response among adolescents to end AIDS among them.
Because of this, UNICEF and UNAIDS together with United States Government/Presidential Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Global Fund for TB AIDS and Malaria (GFTAM), MTV, UNFPA, WHO and adolescent in the AIDS response, in full partnership with countries will co-lead the action agenda All In!
All In! Is a movement built on the following four pillars:
• Mobilize adolescents as agents for social change
• Sharpen adolescent elements of national AIDS programmes and improve data to drive results
• Foster innovation in approaches to reach adolescents with life-saving interventions
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• Advocate and communicate globally for increased resources and attention to adolescents as a population that has been left behind in the progress on AIDS.
In line with the All In pillar for mobilization of adolescents as agents for social change, An Adolescent the name Elijah Simel is already a testament to this. Elijah is 11 years old and living positively while being HIV positive and bringing hope to those going through the same journey as him. His mother, Evelynn Simaloi, never thought she would see the day her son would turn 11 years old. Elijah was born with HIV, passed on from mother to child.
For many years Evelynn struggled to accept her status as HIV positive and this kept her from protecting her unborn child and seeking Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART). Following Elijah’s birth she tried many interventions to keep herself and her baby healthy, including faith-healing, but nothing seemed to work.
Finally, after many years in and out of hospital, Evelynn decided to give ARTs a chance and has never looked back. Today, thanks to the dedication, support and love of his mother this bright and cheerful boy is not only living a happy and healthy life but also fully understands his status and treatment.
Such a young boy and all other adolescents out there living with HIV is a major reason for conducting the All In Campaign. The campaign is geared towards the following targets: reducing new infections among adolescents by at least 75% by 2020 as well as reducing AIDS- related deaths by 65% by the same year.
The ALL IN Campaign started off with the global launch which was held in Kenya on February 17, 2015, at the KICC and was presided over by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta. Other global Leaders who attended the launch of the All In Campaign against HIV and AIDS among adolescents, were Michel Sidibe,UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA Executive Director and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director amongst other dignitaries.
The launch served to kick-off the engagement around the world in a multi-year effort to accelerate HIV–related impact results for and with adolescents, making visible government, donor, multilateral, private sector and adolescent commitment to achieving the two key targets listed above.
In conclusion, in order to fast track the AIDS Response in adolescents and to end adolescents AIDS Empower, Focus, Innovate, Talk, and Listen. These simple actions can change the world. We must ALL GO IN!