In 2018, we partnered with the ELCA during the youth gathering to bring awareness to different causes. HIV/AIDS remains one of the most significant public health crises in history. Today, 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States, 60,300 of which are young people. Youth aged 13 to 24 make up 21% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States, yet are the least likely of any age group to be linked to care in a timely manner and have a suppressed viral load. Addressing HIV in youth requires that young people have access to information and tools they need to reduce their risk, make healthy decisions, and get treatment and care if needed, which is heavily burdened by HIV related stigmatization and discrimination.
Since 1999, Youth Development and Wellness (YDW) services at Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area has been committed to ending HIV/AIDS and the discrimination that youth living with HIV face. Beginning as a one week camp named Youth Haven, it provided a safe space for those impacted by HIV/AIDS to learn, grow, overcome, laugh, be vulnerable, and flourish. It has since grown into a year-round program designed to meet youth where they are and walk with them to improve their health at their own pace while focusing on their specific needs, concerns, and interests. At its core, YDW provides services that enhance social and family connections, teach positive and healthy behaviors, and offer hope toward a path of personal success through overnight camping retreats, nutrition and health wellness workshops, support groups, care navigation services, college visits, mentoring programs and more. We interrupt the stigma that those living with HIV face daily by providing educational trainings that challenge churches and our communities to spread Facts not Fear. At YDW, we're not just caring for our community, we’re building leaders who grow into counselors, mentors, college bound students - wonderful, empowered, and purpose-filled members of society.
- 9.5 oz., 50/50 cotton/polyester
- Ribbed V-neck
- Two stripes on each arm