The 8th biannual SA AIDS Conference will be held at the Durban ICC in June 2017 (A long walk to HIV prevention). The HEAIDS Conference, scheduled as a youth  pre-conference takes place from the 9th to the 11th of June at the same venue as main conference (Ukuhlonyiswa Kwabasha-Empowering our youth in SA).

To support the government’s campaign, She Conquers; loveLife’s participation at both conferences is a call to action by young people; simply phrased: #iMATTER. #iMATTER supports the government’s She Conquers’ Campaign which seeks to address issues that predispose young girls and women as the most affected by the scourge of HIV. #iMATTER is geared to provide young people with a platform to engage South Africans on the needs, aspirations, fears and challenges that continue to be key drivers of HIV infections amongst young people. It is loveLife’s call to action for young people to own up, take responsibility and participate in crafting solutions. All young South Africans need to take responsibility for their actions, understand the role they play in the increase or decrease of new infections of HIV, to live as though their future MATTERed.

As a thought leader in the youth health space, loveLife understands that young people are driven, that they should be at the centre of crafting solutions for challenges that affect them. It has been loveLife’s conviction that young people who have dreams and aspirations are less likely to participate in risky behaviour. We are also cognisant of the ‘top-down’ approach in addressing issues that affect young people the most.

The #iMATTER campaign has a specific ‘call to action’ for young people to own up, assert their voice, take responsibility and participate in driving social change. The campaign has its pillars based on the human rights calls and articulation that have seen themselves play out on the multimedia spaces. The campaign will serve as a platform for young people to voice their opinions and share their stories to assist others to persevere in conquering their everyday challenges, limitations and aspirations. These stories will be shared on all loveLife media platforms. Ultimately we want young people to form ‘#iMATTER clubs’ which aim to promote active citizenship, encourage young people to know Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights and endorse youth health. We want young people to engage each other on a variety of issues including Education, Health and Youth-Development

On Thursday 10th of June, 2017, at HEAIDS conference, loveLife will host a Dialogue inviting young people from various sister-organisations like Soul City, UNFPA, YAP, Activate, and the National Department of Health to discuss the role of ‘Peer-Educators’ in HIV Awareness/Prevention. Young people will form part of the panel, facilitated by loveLife. loveLife will also be activating the campaign in all Y-Centres in the 9 provinces throughout ‘Youth Month’. We will be on all 9 SABC African Language Stations, and Community Screenings will be held at our Y-Centres nationwide.

If you wish to interview loveLife and our #iMATTER ambassadors, or any other pressing HIV & Youth-Health topics, please contact Gareth Masters (gareth.masters@lovelife.org.za ; tel: 011 523 1000, cell: 082 902 4035).