Former Presidents Clinton and Mandela Appeal for Increased Effort to Combat HIV Infection Among Young People

Two of the world’s most prominent elder statesmen have made a joint appearance in support of loveLife, South Africa’s national HIV prevention program for youth, hailing loveLife as the model for HIV prevention among youth globally.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela visited the Orange Farm Y-Center (just outside Johannesburg) on September 28, 2002, to jointly mark a new partnership between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and loveLife, and to underscore the importance of HIV prevention among young people worldwide.”The event celebrates a new funding partnership between the US-based Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in support of loveLife’s groundBREAKER programme,” says loveLife chief executive Dr. David Harrison.

“This funding will allow groundBREAKERS — young volunteers aged between 18-25 who commit to work for loveLife for a year – to take part in a structured curriculum of personal skills development designed to make them better qualified for formal employment at the end of their year with loveLife.”.

The largest HIV prevention programme for youth in the world, loveLife has won widespread international recognition for its innovative strategies. Both Clinton and Mandela have committed themselves to the global fight against HIV and their participation in the Orange Farm event endorses the importance of loveLife, not only in South Africa, but also internationally.

“Initiatives like loveLife’s groundBREAKERS are key in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” says John Samuel, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “Young people need to be equipped with the necessary life skills that will allow them to make informed choices. We have to intensify our education and awareness campaigns if we are going to win this war. But at the same time we have to double our efforts to care for and support those affected by HIV/AIDS”, he said.

Bill Clinton, former US president, urged young South Africans to put pressure on the country’s leadership to devote greater resources to combat HIV/ AIDS. “We have not done enough to demand that leaders – like me – give people the medicine, the care and the treatment they need to get better,” he said.

“I was too young to retire so I decided to get more young people involved in their communities in the fight against the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and in solving their own problems. I am here today because I want young people to take responsibility for themselves and take the tide against HIV.”

Also on the visit were film actors Chris Tucker and Kevin Spacey.




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