The Y+ beauty pageant by UNYPA wins the coveted Golden Egg, Fast Forward Award during the AIDS 2018 conference. When Martha Nakato, a young woman living with HIV, was crowned Miss Y+ (young positive) 2017/18, eyebrows were raised. Some critical sentiments were aired. Some called the idea “crazy” and wondered whether the beauty contest organizers “are making the disease have a desirable sexy look”. A section of the public may have subscribed to such opinion. But in response, Nakato said it is not about how beautiful or how well-dressed one is. “[The pageant] does not seek to crown the most beautiful young person living with HIV, but rather it looks out for the bright, focused and open-minded passionate person who will later support other young people,” she said. She added that the contest seeks to recognize a person “one who knows about HIV, who has the information and is willing to share their story to help others”. The Y+ contest was started to end stigma and discrimination among young people living with HIV — by creating awareness about HIV, encouraging people to know their status and adhere to their medication. “That is the gist,” said Nakato.


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