Feature story

Crafting a new narrative on AIDS for the post 2015 agenda

25 September 2013

HRH Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit (centre) and Pablo Aguilera, Director of HIV Young Leaders Fund participating in the interactive dialogue with key emerging leaders in the social good space on the topic of Creating a new narrative on AIDS for the post 2015 world – what role can the social good sector play? Credit: UNAIDS

Bloggers, HIV experts and emerging leaders in the social good arena from around the world met in New York to discuss how new technologies can be used to effectively respond to HIV and can help create a new narrative around AIDS for the post 2015 world.

The dialogue took place during a session held at the Mashable Social Good Summit, which is organized on the side-lines of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The aim of the Summit is to bring together global leaders to discuss an idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve the world’s greatest challenges. This year’s main debates focused around finding innovative solutions for a world post-2015—when the Millennium Development Goals will come to an end.

Speaking at the event, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway stressed the importance of keeping AIDS in the Post-2015 development framework and called on Member States to ensure young people have a seat at the discussion table.

We need a new narrative on AIDS. One that projects hope and inspires action,” said the Crown Princess. “Young people demand to play a role in shaping and changing their world,” she added.

Participants identified social media as a primary tool to communicate the realities of young people living with HIV. Raising awareness among young people about how their peers live with the virus could help create a new social dialogue; one that challenges taboos and addresses stigma and discrimination.

“As a young person living with HIV, I can tell you it is very different now from what it was 15 or 20 years ago,” said Pablo Aguilera, Director of HIV Young Leaders Fund. “We need to craft a compelling new narrative about AIDS, based on the realities of today, to engage people in reaching the end of the epidemic.”

However, according to participants, any social media initiative addressing HIV must take into consideration the digital divide. They stressed that all initiatives must ensure that online tools are used for offline action. 

One such project is ACT 2015 where Youth organizations and UNAIDS, with support from HRH Crown Princess, will aim to catalyze social action to inspire a new wave of activism in the AIDS response.

ACT 2015 will engage and support youth activists to host online and offline host forums in their local communities to jointly agree and advocate for a new progressive framework that addresses the real HIV and sexual and reproductive health needs of young people. The open forums will take place during the month of November 2013.