Started at the beginning of 203, the Youth Forum represented a project that complemented the activities and services provided through the “Sunflower – Smile” Day Clinics Network. The project began with the basic idea that HIV positive young people can get involved in making decisions which concern them, can advocate and fight for their rights, thus contributing to the quality improvement of the services they need.

For an accurate representation and an adequate adjustment to the identified needs, the young people require information and access to fast and modern means of communication such as virtual communication through the internet.

At the moment of project start, most of the HIV positive young people, beneficiaries of the day clinics, didn’t have internet connection in their homes and therefore their only information sources were the staff of the clinics and their families. Another important aspect was that many of the young beneficiaries were not aware of their HIV status as it hadn’t been communicated, at the request of their families to protect them.

In order to answer the ever-changing needs of the young people living with HIV/AIDS, all the day clinics were connected to the internet and equipped with computers. The staff in the clinics provided the young people with the necessary assistance to access the web page especially created for them (http://www.forumtineri.ro/) and to search for useful information from various fields (health, work etc).

Starting with 2004, to the discussion forum a dialogue component was added through which 17 HIV positive young people were able to communicate directly with journalists about subjects associated with HIV/AIDS, thus getting actively involved in the fight against discrimination and social exclusion.

Partners:

The “Sunflower – Smile” Day Clinics network and the hospitals they belong to: Constanta Municipal Hospital, Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases of Brasov, Infectious Diseases Hospital of Craiova, “Cuvioasa Parascheva” Infectious Diseases Hospital of Iasi, Bacau County Hospital and Petrosani Emergency Hospital.

Sponsors:

  • Microsoft Co., Romania
  • Bristol Meyers Squibb, Romania

Project objectives:

  • To improve the services provided to people affected by HIV/AIDS and to increase the capacity to monitor and evaluate the multidisciplinary services;
  • To improve and diversify the services addressed to HIV positive children and teenagers by better identifying their needs;
  • To improve patient management and case management, to increase the outcomes of the medical and social interventions and of the collaboration between professionals in the field;
  • To fight isolation and discrimination of young people and to encourage them to express their opinions and to get involved in the decisions concerning them;
  • To stimulate communication among children and young people by providing access to communication and information means;
  • To improve case management and to increase the collaboration within the multidisciplinary team;
  • To reduce social exclusion of HIV positive young people;
  • To improve the quality of the articles on HIV/AIDS subjects trough direct communication with the journalists;
  • To create a group of opinion leaders among young people living with HIV/AIDS;

Beneficiaries:

  • 2.520 children and teenagers registered at the day clinics at the start of the project;
  • 80 young people directly involved in project implementation;
  • 145 discussion forum users;
  • 17 HIV positive young people trained for communication with the press;
  • 10 journalists who had the opportunity to communicate directly with the HIV positive young people and, thus, had access to a special information source about HIV/AIDS;

Activities:

  • Facilitation of internet access for the children and teenagers assisted at the day clinics;
  • Involvement in the discussion forum especially created so that the young people can express their opinions on subjects of interest to them, including the services provided through the day clinics;
  • Updating the web page especially designed for the forum with relevant nformation;
  • Computer games;
  • Communication between HIV positive young people with journalists;
  • Training for HIV positive young people;
  • Informal meetings with journalists;

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