Following the success of their 2016 tour Youth Stop AIDS are back in 2017 to speak out about life with HIV with five incredible activists
The Youth Stop AIDS Speaker Tour is bringing together five activists from London, Brighton, Uganda, South Africa and Congo and taking them around the UK to speak about what it means to live with HIV today.
Their personal stories aim to both wake people up to the challenges facing those living with HIV, as well as inspire other young people to become activists themselves.
The group will also be talking about Youth Stop AIDS’ campaign It Ain’t Over that is calling on the UK government to show renewed political, financial and programmatic commitment to the HIV & AIDS response both at home and abroad.
James Isaacs, 28, from London, said:
“I chose to get involved with the speaker tour as I feel it’s vitally important as a young person living with HIV to make sure my voice is heard and to help tackle stigma through education, inspiration and open dialogue. As the Youth Stop AIDS campaign says – IT AIN’T OVER, and it really isn’t.
HIV is now the second biggest killer amongst young people despite an increase in the tools we have to manage it and fight it. Seventeen years ago it wasn’t even in the top 10 biggest killers of young people. So It Ain’t Over for me. It Ain’t Over for others around the world either – and this message is why I feel so impassioned to share my story and help create change. A positive change to the lives of others who will hear it.”
Alex Causton-Ronaldson, 27, from Brighton said:
“If didn’t live in the UK, I’d probably be dead by now. That’s a pretty scary statement, but it’s sadly true. I was diagnosed a matter of months after contracting the virus and was already very ill. If I’d not had access to the services provided by the NHS, I probably not have survived 2014.
This is still very much the case for people living with HIV across the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. I’m going on the tour to help end the stigma associated with living with HIV in the UK, but also to drive young people to hold the government to account and remind them that HIV/AIDS is still very much an issue at home and globally.”
Becky Kroger, 22, from South Africa added:
“I am doing the speaker tour because I can! I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to talk on behalf of all the children and young people across the world living with HIV. I’m passionate to do my part to help end AIDS by 2030.”
Joining James and Alex will be:
- Horcelie Sinda Wa Mbongo, 22, from Congo and the UK
- Krishen Samuel, 30, from South Africa and the UK
One of the speakers from last year’s tour, Robbie Lawlor, 26, from Ireland reflected on being involved with the tour:
“The speaker tour instilled within me a can do attitude. Why can’t one voice, one story, one person make a massive impact? The speaker thought me that everyone has the potential to make a big difference. It also thought me the power of youth. I believe that collectively, as young people, we can achieve the SDG’s vision of Zero New HIV infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, & Zero Stigma and Discrimination by 2030.”
And he had these words of wisdom for this year’s speakers:
“At first you may experience what I call a ‘vulnerability hangover’ .. You are telling complete strangers the darkest periods of your life. While at first you may question your stories, delivery, and impact – I can tell you straight out that it is wasted time. I have heard all your stories. Each and every one will have a massive impact. Enjoy every moment of it.”
If you’d like to attend one of the Speaker Tour events you can register for free for the following dates around the UK:
- Birmingham – 18:00 Tuesday 14 Feb – http://bit.ly/2j4HF3n
- Manchester – 18:00 Wednesday 15 Feb – http://bit.ly/2iCXe0N
- Leeds – 18:00 Thursday 16 Feb – http://bit.ly/2iCLkUW
- Sheffield – 18:30 Friday 17 Feb – http://bit.ly/2jFUOAr
- Newcastle – 18:30 Monday 20 Feb – http://bit.ly/2jsQRBX
- Edinburgh – 19:00 Tuesday 21 Feb – http://bit.ly/2k0BS2J
- Glasgow – 19:00 Wednesday 22 Feb – http://bit.ly/2loAraW
- Dundee – 18:30 Thursday 23rd Feb – http://bit.ly/2jvmpqe
- London – 18:00 Monday 27 Feb – http://bit.ly/2jsSeAA
- Brighton – 18:00 Tuesday 28 Feb – http://bit.ly/2k1bAgW
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