Healthcare students in HIV response – launching the Declaration of Commitment

In an era marked by global challenges, the role of young people and healthcare students in shaping the world cannot be overstated. The actions on HIV&AIDS stand as a testament to the unwavering commitment of these individuals to create a healthier and more inclusive society. Today, we shed light on a groundbreaking initiative that is poised to bring about positive change on this front – the Declaration of Commitment of Healthcare Students’ Response to HIV created by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation under the auspice of UNAIDS.

The energy, fresh perspectives, and dedication of young people are pivotal in advancing any social change, and the challenges posed by HIV are no exception. Youth has the potential to transform societies by calling to question healthcare practices, social norms, and policies. Healthcare students, in particular, are uniquely positioned to contribute to the HIV response due to their specialized training and close engagement with communities.

This declaration is more than just a document; it’s a call to action, a commitment, and a guiding light for healthcare students worldwide. The declaration acknowledges the crucial role that young healthcare professionals can play in the HIV response and outlines a roadmap for their engagement.

The declaration is rooted in the understanding that healthcare students can be powerful advocates, educators, and allies in the efforts towards HIV. By leveraging their knowledge, skills, and empathy, they can break down stigma, provide accurate information, and promote safer behaviors within their communities. Furthermore, the declaration emphasizes the importance of comprehensive sexual education, access to healthcare services, and non-discriminatory practices.

Access the Declaration here

To showcase the current contribution of the IFMSA to HIV response, we would like to share the reflections from outstanding national-level advocates of projects enrolled under IFMSA Programs:

We all know that talking about HIV means talking about sex, which often makes young people uncomfortable, especially when the topic is discussed with older people. A younger orator will also have the same vocabulary and a better knowledge of the current trends on sexuality or the social media influence on them. The key to a good prevention intervention is to create a safe space and an atmosphere in which the public feels confident in the ability and the openness of the orator. This is facilitated when the public can identify with the orator. Therefore I think prevention has to be made by young people for young people. 

Moreover, I hope that my generation will have new points of view and new ideas to make progress in the field of research. 

But the most important thing is that I truly believe that young people have the potential to unite against important causes. We already have proven that we can unite our strength and imagination during covid crisis, but also with movements such as BLM. Social media help us to connect, despite the borders and cultural differences. We are the generation of a union, and I believe that international collaboration in order to fight such a global disease is an essential need. And it is a need this generation is ready to meet. 

Anaïs Maillat, CALWHA activity coordinator (swimsa Switzerland)

Photos from 2023 edition of the activity – swimsa Switzerland


The participation of young people in the fight against AIDS is vital to achieving the end of this disease. This is because the young population has constant access to relevant information about sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS, which progressively raises awareness and provides education through socially engaged media. This enables proper prevention among this sexually active group at higher risk of transmitting and acquiring the infection, which could otherwise propagate it.

Furthermore, young people possess a powerful voice to advocate for issues within our society, including the aforementioned topic, as they can share information and knowledge, disseminating and mobilizing the population as a whole. The study, innovation, and research involving young people in science and health are also essential as this population may be capable of developing crucial discoveries and technological advancements for the evolution of AIDS treatment and prevention.

Ana Laura Nascimiento, Testar é Saber activity coordinator (IFMSA-Brazil)

Testar é Saber (IFMSA-Brazil Activity)


The role of the youth is instrumental in the global efforts to respond to HIV&AIDS. As the largest demographic group affected by HIV&AIDS, young people are uniquely positioned to drive change and significantly prevent new infections and improve access to treatment and care.

Young people have the power to challenge social norms and break down the stigma associated with HIV&AIDS. By fostering open and non-judgmental conversations, they can create safe spaces for those living with HIV&AIDS to seek help and support. The youth can also advocate for comprehensive sexual education programs that provide accurate information about prevention measures, HIV testing, and the importance of regular health check-ups.

The youth can leverage technology and social media knowledge to reach a wider audience and disseminate HIV/AIDS-related information. Through digital platforms, young people can educate their peers about prevention, treatment, and support services. They can also use social media to amplify the voices of those affected by HIV&AIDS, share personal stories, and inspire others to take action.

Furthermore, Young people can actively engage in community outreach programs to promote HIV testing, contraceptive distribution, and other prevention interventions. By organizing and participating in workshops and awareness campaigns, they can empower their peers with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and others.

By actively engaging young people and valuing their contributions, we can accelerate progress toward achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Rakiya Mohammed & Ibrahim Muhammad Bello, HIV awareness and self-testing campaign coordinators (NiMSA Nigeria) 


HIV awareness and self-testing campaign – NiMSA Nigeria

Young people are the most affected population by HIV. Therefore, they have a key role in controlling HIV&AIDS. They are a group that can advocate for their sexual and reproductive health and rights, along with being educators who can raise the awareness of their peers and others. Youth are the shapers of the future, and as key actors in developing a country and maintaining a healthy and educated community, their voices should be heard and they should step forward to shape the future they want.

– Sara Nezamolmolki, All Iranians Disapprove Stigmatization activity coordinator (IMSA Iran)


Youths, though they might be seen as immature by the seniors, could shake the World according to the Indonesian First President, Sukarno. And that rings true when we see how youths are able to influence others just by using social media and the newest one in town, TikTok. We need more youths to speak out, either online or offline, about HIV and ways to prevent the transmission. It’s very easy, either you take PrEP or if you’re “un-PrEPed”, use a condom. Explain U=U and why we shouldn’t shun PLHIVs from our circles. Talk about getting regular check-ups, once every 3 months for those who are sexually active. Inform the locations, from the comment sections, we can see the replies from the public on how we as doctors can improve our way to reach vulnerable people. By having these, I believe, we would be on the right track to end AIDS by the year 2030 based on the target implemented by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

– Joseph Hamzah Anwar, M’sia World AIDS Day Forum activity coordinator (SMMAMS Malaysia)

M’sia World AIDS Day Forum activity promotional materials

In conclusion, the Declaration stands as a milestone, reflecting our collective dedication to addressing HIV&AIDS with empathy and solidarity. By fostering awareness, education, and open conversations, we are paving the way for a society that breaks down the barriers of systemic shortcomings, social obstacles, and discrimination. This declaration serves as a reminder of our shared responsibility to ensure access to dignified care and support for all affected individuals. Looking ahead, our focus remains on building a world where those living with HIV are embraced by compassion and the stigma surrounding the condition is replaced by an atmosphere of acceptance and support. As we progress, we encourage you to endorse the Declaration in your upcoming HIV-related activities.

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