(This article was originally published on CATIE’s website! Our two Health Educators attended and enjoyed this symposium earlier this year.)
It’s been 22 years in the making but worth the wait. On February 4-5, 2012, healthcare and frontline service providers, youth leaders, researchers, and policy makers, from across the country serving youth living with, or affected by HIV, gathered in Toronto to discuss their work and the communities they serve at the second national HIV and youth knowledge exchange symposium.
The first national conference that focused on HIV and youth was held back in 1992, at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Organized by Toronto-based Youthlink-Inner City and its Program Manager Laurie Edmiston, coincidentally now CATIE’s Executive Director, the conference aimed to raise awareness about the issues and effects of HIV/AIDS on youth, and to act as a catalyst for developing strategies to cope with the epidemic. Twenty-two years later, the evidence suggests that youth, and marginalized youth in particular, continue to be at risk for HIV, HCV and STIs. In 2009 alone (the latest available statistics) 582 new cases of HIV among Canadian youth were reported. The continuing fact of Canadian youth being at risk of contracting the virus underscores the importance of facilitating young people’s understanding and ensuring an ongoing dialogue around issues concerning sexual health and harm reduction. (more…)