UNYPA’s 2024 YPlusSummit highlights youth advocacy in HIV/AIDS care

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With the support of the Government of Uganda and other partners, the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) successfully held their 2024 YPlusSummit at Hotel Africana.

The event is an annual platform where leaders and youths share information on various aspects of life to empower young people living with HIV/AIDS (YPLHIV) mentally and psychologically. This year’s event was themed “BREAKING BARRIERS, BRIDGING GAPS.”

During the two days, different speakers addressed issues that hinder HIV service delivery in various communities and committed to fully supporting several initiatives.

This year’s summit brought together peer leaders, stakeholders, change ambassadors, and thought leaders to devise actions to address emerging issues affecting the well-being of YPLHIV at the national and community levels.

Masembe Paddy, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of UNYPA addressing the young people.

Masembe Paddy, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of UNYPA, emphasized the crucial need to advocate for the rights and well-being of Young People Living with HIV (YPLHIV). According to Masembe, access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) services is essential for their empowerment and overall health.

“It’s inspiring to see young advocates passionately championing this vital cause,” he said.

The United States Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. William W. Popp, was one of the main guest speakers at the event. He emphasized that youth leadership is a key component, especially in the HIV response.

The United States Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. William W. Popp speaking during the event.

“This is the first summit I have attended that focuses on community leadership in the HIV response. 90% of Ugandans living with HIV are receiving ARVs, PEP, and PrEP from PEPFAR, and we are committed to continuing this support,” said Ambassador William Popp.

Different UNYPA district leaders from across the country explained the importance of empowering communities. According to the leaders, community-led initiatives enhance the effectiveness and resilience of district networks by harnessing local knowledge, resources, and engagement.

“I was a young street kid with no hope, but through platforms that UNYPA has exposed me to, I have been able to amplify my voice addressing the challenges of Young People living with HIV,” said Michael Senyonga, one of the leaders of the Kasese Network of Young People living with HIV.

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