What we do

We are Youth LEAD

We empower through education

We advocate for YKP rights

We are strong because of our network

Youth LEAD is the Asia Pacific regional network of young key populations (YKP) ages 18-27.

We wanted to empower young key populations (YKP) at the grassroots level. So we created Youth LEAD to develop partnerships among YKP organizations in the Asia-Pacific region. We equip our members with the necessary skills and tools to advocate for change

Youth LEAD is unique because we bring together all young key populations to the same platform. Our organization and programs are led, designed, and implemented by young people, working for other young people. We embrace each others differences and celebrate our similarities, connected by our values and needs of being young and our shared passion to end HIV/AIDS.

This is what makes Youth LEAD strong: our network of young men who have sex with men, young sex workers, young people who use drugs, young transgender persons , and young people living with HIV, who all come together to advocate for issues that affect us and our communities

Our Mission

We want to be the catalyst of change and empowerment for young key populations through capacity building, advocacy, and the expansion of partnerships between local, national, and regional YKP organizations. We want to ensure more meaningful participation and involvement of YKP in all levels of decision making that impact their lives. We respect diversity and ensure gender balance in all aspects of our organizational structure and decision making.

We work in 19 countries across Asia and the Pacific: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.


YKP Facts and Issues

Young Key Populations (YKP): Young people who are at high risk of HIV exposure. In all countries, key populations include people living with HIV. In most settings, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, people who use drugs, people who sell sex and their clients, are at a higher risk of exposure to HIV than other people. The youth populations of these key populations under 27 are young key populations (YKP).

Young people from young key populations face the stigma and discrimination associated with key populations worldwide, but also face age-related restrictions to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. This leads to increased barriers in accessing effective prevention, treatment, care, and support services.

An estimated 500,000 young people (aged 15-24) are living with HIV in the Asia-Pacific region

Over 95% of all new HIV infections among young people occur among young key population, but 90% of the funding for HIV prevention and resources only focuses on low-risk young people.

Youth LEAD brings the focus to young key populations so we can get to zero.


Youth LEAD was founded in the summer of 2010 under the Coalition of Asia-Pacific Regional Networks on HIV and AIDS (7 Sisters) and financially supported by UNFPA. It was further supported by UNICEF, UNAIDS, and UNESCO in the next coming years. It became an independent network in 2012, after the establishment of our first ever three year strategic plan and governance handbook. Youth LEAD became a registered organization in Thailand in 2014.