RHAY is a response to the cry of adolescents and young people (AYP) to be involved in conferences beyond one or two of them being given the podium to tell their stories, or where only a pre-conference session is dedicated to them, or where they sit at a youth corner in the community village. Youth find it challenging to navigate the highly scientific concurrent sessions or understand the research jargon used during presentations. At the 1st HIVR4P Conference in Cape Town in 2014, a young person remarked that: “We attend these conferences and end up just talking to ourselves. We do not understand what is going on, even when they (the presenters) talk about us (youth)” .
RHAY aims to open a new chapter by bringing AYP in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) to the forefront in the fight against HIV, not just on a conference platform but in shaping the long-term prevention and care/treatment research and program agenda towards epidemic control by 2030.
RHAY aims to move beyond the rhetoric of youth involvement to showcase what it truly means to engage young people, hear their voices, give them a platform, and built their capacity to hold the steering wheel in the fight against HIV, in the spirit of Nothing for Us without Us.