I am Tabris from Perú. I feel happy for this opportunity of representing young people from my country.
If in fact in my country there are laws that ensure rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, they are not often fulfilled, and regardless, teenagers and young people are not covered by such legislation. I want to share the need that young people have for real spaces to talk and reflect about sexuality, sexualities, gender equality and human rights with peers and adults.
If my brothers and sisters are made to feel like these are not subjects where rights apply, then they cannot make demands for their rights or exert them. They continue to feel shame about sex, and they continue to feel HIV is another person’s problem. We need real education, without prejudice against sexual practices, sexual orientation, pleasure and gender – including love as a component in human sexualities, whatever they are. Otherwise, my brothers and sisters – gays , lesbians, bisexual and trans – will continue to be ashamed of asking for answers and ways to prevent HIV.
They will be left in vulnerable situations, even more than our heterosexual peers. Most programs suppose heterosexuality as the normal sexuality. Without these other elements, we cannot encourage young people in general to love themselves and then love and respect others, including avoiding any kind of discrimination against those of my brothers and sisters who are people living with HIV/AIDS.
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We need a social change, led by empowered young people working together with NGOs and government. And we need real will from our government and makers of decisions as much as real youth participation to achieve this goal.