For the past two months, four youth from the various regions in Halton have been organizing and planning an educational youth forum to be held on Friday (Dec. 1), World AIDS Day, at Milton District High School from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The day will be filled with education and prevention awareness, front line stories and pictures from other countries and a chance for youth to take away some ideas about what they can do locally to help eliminate the stigma and discrimination that people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in Halton face on a daily basis. The youth forum is the second regional initiative put on by AIDS Action Halton, a community collaborative working towards developing Halton-based community awareness of the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, prevention of the virus, and improving support services for the citizens of Halton and their families living and affected by this epidemic. "Stigma and discrimination are the greatest barriers to preventing more infections," said Devon Spier, a Lester B. Pearson High School student and one of the co-organizers of the event. "We hope that youth will leave the forum with a better understanding of the disease, prevention methods and how the world is affected by HIV/AIDS, we will look at the epidemic globally, but encourage action locally," he said. "Denial goes hand in hand with discrimination, with many people continuing to deny that HIV exists in their communities. Today, HIV/AIDS threatens the welfare and well being of people throughout the world. It is estimated that, 42 million people are living with HIV or AIDS and that 3.1 million die each year from AIDS-related illness. There is no invisible wall that keeps HIV/AIDS out of Halton, there are people in our community, including women and children, who are living with this disease," said Maureen Harvey a Georgetown youth and past student of Christ The King High School. The other two youth organizers are: Caitlin Carew and Melanie McDougall. The youth organizers have created a "my space" page to help promote the event and to help raise awareness-- www.myspace.com/youthsupportingtruth. Youth who wish to attend should RSVP to AIDS Action Halton 905-632-4551 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The youth forum is the second regional initiative put on by AIDS Action Halton with funding provided by the United Way of Burlington, The Miriam Group, HOPE, Sexual Health Department, Transitions for Youth, Peer Outreach Support Services & Education Project (POSSE) and concerned citizens and youth from all areas of the Halton region.