Leaders to lobby for HIV Prevention and Sexual Health for Youth in Eastern and Southern Africa

Following the successful launch of the Eastern and Southern Africa Commitment on HIV Prevention and Sexual Health for Young People in November 2011 by Dirk Niebel, Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), UNAIDS and UNESCO have now established a High-Level Group of policymakers and experts to steer this initiative.

The group, led by Dr. Sheila Tlou, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa , is made up of the First Lady of Tanzania, Ms Salma Kikwete, former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and 10 other leaders in the fields of education, health and development from across the region. The High-Level Group will be supported by a Technical Coordinating Group which comprises regional development partners and UNAIDS co-sponsors, including UNESCO, UNICEF and UNFPA.

The High-Level Group will advise, steer and support the initiative over the next twelve months, providing leadership in garnering support from political decision-makers in the health and education sectors of 20 countries across Eastern and Southern Africa.

“I have absolute confidence that the depth and breadth of experience and expertise that each member of this group brings to the table, along with their clear passion for the well-being of our young people, can only lead to the success of our ambitious but crucial initiative”, says Dr Sheila Tlou.

As part of the initiative and with the support of BMZ, UNESCO is commissioning a diagnostic report on HIV & Sexuality Education and Sexual & Reproductive Health Services for Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa. The findings will serve to galvanize high level political support and commitment towards programmes focused on HIV prevention and sexual health for young people.