Abi Ogunmwonyi|01.12.2017|Feature
Over the last two decades we’ve seen a huge amount of progress in reducing the spread  of HIV.

Infection rates have gone down and a record number of people living with HIV are now on life-saving medication. However, young people have been left behind by much of this wider progress. More than 100 young people die of AIDS-related illnesses every day and every two minutes an young person somewhere in the world is infected with HIV. If you are young, the risks are significant; if you are young and from a high-risk population, or from a region like southern Africa, then the chances of infection are super high. Women and girls, for example, account for 74% of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gender inequality is largely to blame for this. Limited access to education and sexual health information and services, as well as practices and traditions like early marriage and early pregnancy, prevent many young women from making healthy, informed decisions in life. If we are going to bring the spread of HIV to an end we need to put a spotlight on adolescent girls.

At MTV Staying Alive we’re doing this by funding girls-led organisations who are tackling HIV in their local communities, using methods and tools they know are most effective when it comes to reaching their peers. Of the 38 projects we currently fund globally, 1 in 3 work with girls and young women. In countries such as India, Rwanda and Zambia our grantee partners are using a variety of approaches – including folk music fused with HIV messaging or integrating HIV education into circus performances– all aimed at educating young people, and girls especially about their sexual health and rights.

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In 2018, we will continue to work with our brilliant grantee partners around the world who are working tirelessly to educate their female and male peers about safe sex. That’s why today, we’re inviting young people around the world to join us. If you’re interested in becoming a grantee partner and want more information about our grants including grant eligibility criteria visit: www.mtvstayingalive.org/grants

You can support organizations like MAAYGO and Penitentiary Initiative by donating to MTV Staying Alive here: http://www.mtvstayingalive.org/donate/

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