Desmond Tutu Calls On Youth To Lead Next Generation In HIV/AIDS Fight

Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Tuesday at a meeting on Robben Island, South Africa, that “was meant to be a symbolic passing of the torch from an older generation of activists to younger people,” called on youth to lead the next generation in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Agence France-Presse reports (5/3).

The event, convened by UNAIDS, “joined together world renowned leaders from the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention with a group of young leaders who, in turn, presented the commissioners with a ‘call to action’ articulating the vision of the youth movement on HIV,” according to a UNAIDS press release.

“Today is about putting our heads and our hearts together to support a renewal of leadership and commitment in HIV prevention,” Tutu, co-chair of the Commission on HIV, said, adding, “Bold and honest actions are needed and we look to the next generation of leaders to bring about positive change in attitudes and actions.”

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said, “Young people have the power to change the future and transform the AIDS response. … A collective youth movement mobilised around HIV prevention which exchanges important information through new technologies and peer education will stop new infections.” The meeting focused on utilizing social media and mobile health technologies to implement innovative ways to fight the epidemic, the press release notes (5/4).

Tutu also thanked South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi for his leadership in the country’s HIV treatment and prevention policies and programs, the Associated Press reports. Motsoaledi, who also attended the meeting, said, “We are definitely joining hands with the rest of the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I think we will win” (Mgudlwa, 5/3).