Alicia Keys, Grammy award-winning musician and global ambassador to Keep A Child Alive, is taking action to open the world’s eyes to the reality of living with HIV.

Keys co-founded Keep A Child Alive in 2003.
Keys co-founded Keep A Child Alive in 2003.
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The singer has joined with grad student and Keep A Child Alive consultant Cristina Jade Peña to write an article about their experiences, and the experiences of others, in the fight for awareness and solutions. Peña became an HIV/AIDS advocate and educator shortly after learning she had been born HIV-positive.

The article, found on CNN.com, begins with a story about one young woman’s struggles, and eventual empowerment, that arose from her discovery that she was born with HIV.

Keys writes that the stories “speak to the pain, loss and challenges that HIV and AIDS have put upon this generation, but also to the triumph of what’s possible when we come together.”

While there is hope for the future, Keys points out that we still have work to do in order to protect and support young adults, saying:

“…most HIV treatment programs and policies are designed for children or adults, leaving young people caught in the middle of programs that fall short in meeting their special needs.

“The good news is that across the world, young people are uniting to demand a seat at the table. They are demanding attention from their communities, health facilities, schools, governments and leaders.”

Keys asks readers to watch for the upcoming “5MIL: Hangout”, a youth-led platform which will connect young advocates living with HIV and affected by HIV from Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and the United States.

It will offer a grassroots, virtual dialogue and foster a safe space for young people to come together and talk openly about HIV, share challenges and solutions, and connect directly with influential leaders.

She, Cristina and Keep A Child Alive are asking all young people around the world who are living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and the global community to join this movement.

Three things Keys says she wants to young people to start doing now are:

  • Get loud! Talk, blog, tweet and text truths about HIV. By talking openly, we can take the power away from silence and fear and put it in the hands of knowledge, acceptance and love.
  • Tap into the Y-potential: Young people are passionate — let’s harness their energy and willingness to think boldly and take risks. Ask young people what they think and what ideas they have to turn the tide of HIV for their generation, their community and themselves.
  • Know your status: Get an HIV test and talk to young people about testing, prevention — including using condoms and having good sexual health — and treatment if they are positive.

To read the full Special Report, visit CNN.com.

Cristina Jade Peña meets up with Alana (Sr. Program Officer, Keep a Child Alive) in South Africa
Cristina Jade Peña meets up with Alana (Sr. Program Officer, Keep a Child Alive) in South Africa
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You can read about Cristina Jade Peña’s “Diary of an Activist” here.

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