Today’s youth: working for a better tomorrow

Mark Dybul’s restless drive to fight AIDS and other diseases has been going for the past decade and his work is certainly not coming to a halt anytime soon. In the summer of 2006, in his nation’s capital Washington D.C, Dr. Dybul and many other prominent people such as HIV expert Marsha Martin and R&B singer Lyfe Jennings served as hosts for the YouthAIDS Forum, an event organized to raise awareness about the dangers of AIDS. Having graduated with a medical degree Dr. Dybul was able to teach the youngsters about how the virus could affect their body in a scientific sense. Due to the fact that the issues were addressed in a comfortable environment with friends and family the children were more attentive and engaged in what they were learning.

With the intent of continuing the efforts people like Mark Dybul strive for, Mayor Anthony A. Williams declared July 27th as the District’s official YouthAIDS day (April 10th is the official National Youth HIV+AIDS Awareness Day ).

Being negative can lead to being positive

Working to keep up this tradition is very important for the youth and any city’s community. As Dybul said during his talk “It’s important to know if you’re negative so you can lead a happy, healthy life.”

As head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and as the U.S Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Dybul oversees all necessities in order to promote the fight against HIV by engaging into medical affairs and developing methods of prevention.

Many do not know how to protect themselves from the disease and how high the risk of catching it can be. For a few others prevention was too late.

Speaking in statistics

– Although the virus is mostly spread in countries such as South and Southeast Asia, it is the most leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa

– There are 11.8 million youths in the world living under HIV

– Over 7 million of these infected youths are female

– Worldwide about 6 000 – 7 000 youths get infected by the virus every day

– And only 1/3 of them know how to protect themselves

Curing the auto immune deficiency syndrome is of vital importance, but preventing the HIV virus from even entering the body is just as important.

Last spring AIDS-Hilfe Wien started a program called “Be active in the prevention of HIV/AIDS!” – A campaign targeted towards minorities in Vienna who either live with AIDS or who have a high possibility of getting infected by the virus. Austria might not be on the list of countries most affected by the virus, but nonetheless, 1/3 of the people, whether Austrian by birth or not, live with AIDS.

The aim of the campaign, which was held in multiple languages, is to inform everyone, and especially today’s teenagers about spreading the wordrefraining from isolating those living with the virusgetting tested and using protection.

These methods were represented by the campaign’s slogan:

OPEN YOUR MOUTH – Gib die Botschaft weiter, nicht den Virus!”
(spread the word, not the virus)

OPEN YOUR EARS – Hör zu, unterstütze, diskriminiere nicht!”
(listen, support, do not discriminate)

OPEN YOUR EYES – Auf in eine bessere Zukunft, lass dich testen!”
(For a better future, get yourself tested)

OPEN YOUR MIND – Glaub nicht an Mythen, nimm ein Kondom!”
(Don’t believe the myths, use a condom)

Be active in the prevention of HIV/AIDS” is just one domestic initiative for the fight against the disease. There are tons of campaigns and support-groups worldwide, whose goal it is to help and educate others.

Dr. Mark Dybul and many other specialists on the topic have been invited as speakers for the upcoming TED event on the 30th of May. If you’d like to, not just attend, but also interact with like-minded people and the speakers get your tickets as soon as possible!

Header image credits: Royalty free

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