Part of the work we do at YouthCO is advocating for communities that support the health and well-being of youth across British Columbia. Here, you can find some of our beliefs that inform our work!
At YouthCO, we believe:
- Culture is healing: Access to culture is a crucial part of supporting Indigenous youth. Learn more about how Indigenous youth are leading with culture in our Yúusnewas program here.
- Harm reduction saves lives: Talking openly about sex and drug use with youth saves lives. Access to new supplies, a safe drug supply, and safe places to use drugs saves lives.
- HIV is not a crime: Using the criminal law as a tool in situations where those of us living with HIV do not disclose our HIV status perpetuates fear and stigma, and further harms those of us who are living with HIV, who are people of colour, who are indigenous, who are poor, and who are part of LGBTQ+ communities. Our resources include a position paper and a short stop-animation video. Find out more here.
- Youth need a drug plan: Pharmacare ensures access to vaccinations, medication for treatment and prevention, mental health care, and confidential, free testing for STIs, and blood borne infections. Learn more about how YouthCO and the Canadian Treatment Action Council collaborated to advocate for pharmacare to be part of the 2015 federal election here.
- PrEP works, stigma doesn’t: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis prevents those of us who are HIV-negative from becoming HIV-positive if we come into contact with HIV. Our position paper and questions and answers explain why stigma continues to be an enormous barrier for youth to get PrEP.
- Sex ed is our right: Youth want sex ed that is relevant, standardized, delivered by knowledgeable educators, and fun! We spoke to over 600 high school students in 84 communities in British Columbia, and we heard the message loud and clear: sex education today looks different from classroom to classroom. Too many students are getting inaccurate information or information that is not relevant. Read the full report and check out the campaign website, hosted by the Community Based Research Centre.
- Sex work is work.
- Trans women are women.
- Undetectable viral loads mean we cannot pass HIV to our sex partners: those of us who have an undetectable viral load cannot pass HIV to our sex partners. At YouthCO, we believe whatever our HIV status or viral load, we deserve supportive, affirming health care, and we can be part of resisting HIV stigma.
- Survivors of sexual assault tell the truth.