Ten top reasons why RHAY stands out as a conference truly designed by, for and with AYP:
A workshop was held with 152 AYP age 15-24 years on Dec. 16-18, 2018 to introduce RHAY and collect their views on how it should be run. The workshop replicated a typical conference, to allow AYP visualize how conferences are organized.
At least 50% of the conference presentations will be done by or with young people <30 years (including new presenters); all sessions – plenary, oral, poster and satellite – will focus solely on data derived from AYP age <24 years.
AYP are taking the lead in most planning committees, with experienced researchers providing guidance.
The first review (of abstracts and proposals) will be done about 6 months before the conference and a second review (of full presentations) will be done about 2 months before the conference. The 2nd review will assess the language level of presentations to ensure they are sufficiently simplified.
To make AYP feel comfortable during the presentations, they will arrive a day earlier to be taken through key research concepts and terminologies, and to discuss the program and be familiar with the conference themes and how the sessions are organized.
An afternoon session will be set aside for AYP to showcase best practices of prevention, care and treatment they recently did or are doing to reduce HIV in their respective countries (YLHIV in boarding schools are particularly encouraged to showcase what works in maintaining good retention and adherence to medication).
A team of young doctors, clinical officers, nurses and counselors will set up tents for information and counseling on sexual and reproductive health. HIV testing, medical male circumcision, and treatment of STIs (where possible) will be provided onsite for the duration of the conference.
Presentations by young people <30 years will be scored by senior researchers and 10-15 top scorers will be mentored to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals.
RHAY Conference will not be a typical once-a-year or once-every-two-years event; rather, it is intended to jumpstart a movement by AYP in partnership with senior researchers, advocates, policy-makers and program implementers to end HIV among AYP. Seed funds of USD 5,000 will be awarded to 30 young people under 30 years old (dubbed 30-U-30 Awards) with pilot projects that promise to make an impact on HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa.
At the end of the conference, a Kisumu Declaration on ending HIV among AYP by 2030 will be made and disseminated.