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WANTED: Global AIDS Coordinator
Date:1/16/2009

Requirements: Must Have Vision and a Commitment to Young People

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth:

  • Young people ages 15-25 represent 45 percent of all new HIV infections worldwide
  • Almost a quarter of people living with HIV are under the age of 25
  • Young women comprise 57 percent of all young people with HIV
  • At least 95 percent of all new infections occur in less developed countries

These are the grim statistics that greet a new generation of young people after 25 years of the global AIDS pandemic -- statistics that demand a fresh, new approach to HIV prevention.

Last month, Advocates joined 49 other organizations in a letter to President-elect Obama urging him to appoint a new Global AIDS Coordinator within the first 30 days of his Presidency. We joined this group of HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, youth, legal and development organizations because we believe that we are at a critical moment in the global AIDS pandemic that requires new thinking, new direction, and new vision.

I kept telling my colleagues that the new President would never keep someone in this pivotal position who had been so closely associated with the exportation of the Bush Administration's failed abstinence-until-marriage policies. So it was with deep disappointment that I learned that President-elect Obama intends to keep Ambassador Mark Dybul as the Global AIDS Coordinator (GAC).

On Ambassador Dybul's watch, not only have we witnessed increased funding for restrictive abstinence-until-marriage policies that deny young people life-saving information, but the continued prohibition on funding for needle exchange, a key tool in the fight against HIV among injecting drug users and their partners. Further, his a
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SOURCE Advocates for Youth
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