Frequently Asked Questions

What is GYCA?

The Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA) is a network of young leaders (ages 15 - 30) and adult allies working in HIV/AIDS worldwide. It prioritizes networking and sharing of best practices, technical assistance and capacity building, and political advocacy. GYCA focuses specifically on creating a platform for continued empowerment, networking opportunities and collaboration among youth activists and youth organizations in fighting the epidemic.

Who is involved?

GYCA is currently made up of over 7000 youth leaders and adult allies in over 170 countries representing local, regional, and global HIV/AIDS initiatives. It is coordinated by a North Secretariat in Brooklyn, New York and a South Secretariat in Accra, Ghana, that act as catalysts for a decentralized network, operating through 12 Regional Focal Points and a growing number of National Focal Points worldwide.

How was GYCA formed?

Youth participants at the Barcelona and Bangkok International AIDS Conferences in 2002 and 2004 recognized the need for a global network which would allow them to share information and resources, strategize on collaborative projects and campaigns, and to increase coverage of HIV/AIDS interventions worldwide.

Young people felt they are not achieving their potential in contributing to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Because youth comprise near 40% of all new infections, they feel a need to actively participate within international dialogue on HIV/AIDS issues and acquire much-needed skills and resources for self-empowerment. Youth leaders feel marginalized and isolated from one another, and have difficulty accessing information and sharing knowledge. At Bangkok, young people had informal meetings to address these specific needs and obtained approval and support for the development of GYCA from Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

After the conference, youth attendees of Bangkok invited adult allies and other youth working on HIV/AIDS to participate in a month-long e-consultation to seek feedback on the needs, goals, and structure of the proposed Coalition. GYCA was established with an initial voluntary task force in the fall of 2004 with approximately 200 young leaders and has since then grown exponentially.

How is GYCA unique from other youth organizations?

Although many networks and youth-led organizations already exist, discussions at Bangkok revealed that youth leaders lack information about already established resources and programmes. Many programmes that focus on HIV/AIDS and youth are managed by adults, with youth as only beneficiaries of knowledge, skills, and services not as active agents with incredible potential in the fight against the global pandemic. The need for GYCA arose from youth and for youth and is supported by established global and regional youth organizations.

What does GYCA offer?

GYCA is a tool for youth involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and engages and empowers young people by adapting tools that have proven successful for previous initiatives, and complements them with a youth-created and youth-led plan of action. Such practices include:

  • Free E-courses: GYCA offers three online courses: Project Management, Political Advocacy, and Grant-Writing and Fundraising. Approximately 20 participants are selected for each course by application, and create a final project plan through submitting weekly exercises for review by the course facilitator, participating in online discussions, and implementing the project with technical support from GYCA staff. For more information, see here.
  • Local Gatherings: Regional and National focal points frequently organize events and trainings that prioritize working with marginalized youth, especially those without internet access. Gatherings assist the mapping process for our Global Directory to connect youth HIV/AIDS initiatives together, to local NGOs, their government, and the local United Nations offices.
  • Opportunities to participate: GYCA assists young people to participate in international events as speakers, scholarship recipients, members of national delegations, abstract presenters, and delegates. Such events are important opportunities to showcase work and network with allies and donors.
  • Access to resources: GYCA shares information on scholarships, training opportunities, events, campaigns, and publications with its members on a regular basis. As a member of GYCA you will connect with others working in your community, country, and region.
  • Opportunities to shape governmental policies and programs: GYCA members working in political advocacy have shaped international and national policy on HIV/AIDS by participating on government delegations and advocating at the United Nations at events such as UNGASS AIDS 2006, and have been successful in having our issues incorporated into the international declarations.

GYCA does not seek to duplicate existing efforts including programmes, training resources, or advocacy campaigns. Rather, GYCA seeks to enhance the efficacy of these efforts by publicizing successes, connecting youth skills to initiatives in need of support and development, and by compiling resources to solidify the common cause.

How Can I Get Involved?

Join GYCA! or send a blank email to: GYCA-subscribe@groups.takingitglobal.org. For more information, email info@gyca.org.

Support Us

Every day, over 6000 young people under 25 years old are infected with HIV. Of those infected, the vast majority do not have access to treatment and care. HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today – and young people remain at the center of the epidemic in terms of vulnerability, impact and potential for change. Give young leaders an invaluable opportunity by helping them to save lives and to end the spread of HIV in their communities.