The White House Office of National AIDS Policy has released a national HIV/AIDS strategy, which includes an intensive focus on youth. To put South Carolina in the best position to implement the upcoming national HIV/AIDS strategy, the South Carolina Public Health Institute (SCPHI) with support from the New Morning Foundation, began facilitating the discussions to inform the development of a state-wide HIV/AIDS prevention strategy for youth. The goal of the initial phase of this project was to convene stakeholders and to plan for the development of a state-wide HIV/AIDS strategy for youth. As a part of this effort, SCPHI engaged key stakeholders from across South Carolina in a preliminary collaborative planning process to address the critical steps of consensus building, information gathering, and prioritization. The purpose of this process was to identify and explore the driving and blocking forces in the environment that could facilitate or hinder the development and implementation of a state-wide HIV/AIDS prevention strategy for Youth.
The resulting report, Laying the Groundwork for a State-wide HIV/ AIDS Prevention Strategy for Youth, outlines the process, findings, and key recommendations from the project. Two overarching key concepts emerged from this qualitative assessment:
1) The rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and new HIV infections among youth in South Carolina is a community issue that needs to be addressed in a holistic manner.
2) Youth in South Carolina are not the problem; youth are an important and key determinant in the solution.