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Positive Action for Youth

The HIV Epidemic Among Youth

Young people 13-24 years old have always known a world with HIV. Although ongoing scientific advances in prevention and treatment have cut the numbers of new infections substantially, youth remain disproportionately affected. 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses in the US were among young people in this age group, and only about half know their status.1

At ViiV Healthcare, we recognize that young people are driving so much of the change taking place in the HIV movement, thinking of new and innovative ways to address HIV in their communities—and we know we can’t end the epidemic without empowering young people to lead us into a future without HIV.

Our Response: Thinking Differently To End the Epidemic Among Youth

At ViiV Healthcare, we know there is more to do to help young people living with HIV. Our Positive Action for Youth (PAFY) initiative supports community-driven mentoring, leadership development, safe spaces, prevention and peer navigation programs that support youth living with HIV to manage their diagnosis and develop healthy behaviors, as well as raise awareness and reduce gaps in HIV care.

Through insights gained during ongoing listening activities, we design funding opportunities that reflect and respond to youth themselves. In 2017, we first piloted our Positive Action for Youth initiative in response to emerging trends in epidemiological data: One in five new HIV diagnoses that year were found in young people, and young people have the lowest viral suppression rate of all age groups. Youth living with HIV face unique barriers to care, and we are responding with a multi-pronged innovations and levers to drive youth engagement in care. Read more about PAFY’s successes, learnings and insights from the pilot phase here.

VHC Project Maps

Grantee Reflections: Propelling the Power of Mentorship

Positive Action for Youth grantees across the country are activating young people living with HIV to take charge of their own health through virtual and in-person mentorship programs. These grantees have worked collaboratively with young people, providers and other organizations to develop mentoring programs that better engage youth living with HIV. Learn more about the innovative, youth-driven approaches developed by the first PAFY grantees by clicking here.

The Medical Mentoring Toolkit, a Project of Advocates for Youth

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a mentorship program that supports young people living with HIV - but Advocates for Youth has developed a toolkit to help. With ViiV Healthcare’s support, Advocates for Youth conducted a collaborative co-creation process that leveraged the voices and expertise of the community as well as best practices, learnings and recommendations shared by the first Positive Action for Youth grantees. Whether you’re a clinician, advocate or small community-based organization, you’ll find invaluable resources in this one-of-a-kind guide. Access the Toolkit here.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV and Youth. Updated April 2019. Accessed December 3, 2019.    

Website images are not intended to imply that the models pictured have HIV.