Forty years into the HIV epidemic, AIDS remains the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age—UNAIDS calls for bold action

EKHN, in its capacity of the Board member of the UNAIDS PCB, is sharing the below statement

Gender discrimination and violence, gaps in education and lack of economic empowerment and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights are blocking progress

GENEVA/JOHANNESBURG, 5 March 2020—Ahead of International Women’s Day, UNAIDS has launched a new report showing that the stark inequalities and inequities between men and women are continuing to make women and girls more vulnerable to HIV. We’ve got the power urges governments to do more to empower women and girls and fulfil their human rights.

“The HIV epidemic holds a mirror up to the inequalities and injustices faced by women and girls and how the gaps in rights and services are exacerbating the epidemic,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “This is unacceptable, it is avoidable and it must end.”

Twenty-five years ago, governments took the historic step of adopting the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, the most comprehensive and progressive global policy road map for fulfilling the human rights of women and girls and achieving gender equality.

Progress has been made in key areas. More girls are in school and gender gaps in primary schooling are closing globally, in some countries there are more women involved in political leadership and other countries have worked to protect women’s rights in legislation. HIV treatment has also been scaled up, so that by mid-2019 there were more than 24 million people living with HIV on treatment, including more than 13 million women aged 15 years and over.

The report shows, however, that many of the promises made to improve the lives of women and girls around the world have not been kept. Almost 40 years into the response, AIDS is still the leading cause of death for women aged between 15 and 49 years and around 6000 young women aged between 15 and 24 years acquire HIV every week.

We’ve got the power outlines some critical areas to address, including eliminating violence against women. In areas with a high HIV prevalence, intimate partner violence has been found to increase the risk of women acquiring HIV by 50%. Being HIV-positive can also be a trigger for violence, with women living with HIV frequently reporting violence from intimate partners, family and community members and in health services.

Source and more: