The United Nations agency charged with gender equality and women’s empowerment today presented concrete areas of focus and goals for the three-day, high-level meeting on AIDS which begins at UN Headquarters tomorrow.
The agency, UN Women, said in a press statement that they would put forward several key recommendations, including: empower HIV positive women as “agents of change”; facilitate better access for women to prevention, treatment and care services; ensure adequate financing for women’s needs and priorities; and address violence against women.
“If we are to truly change the course of the epidemic and bring an end to this pandemic, we must take this opportunity to back our commitments with actions and resources, and include the voices of HIV-positive women in the design of effective solutions,” said Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. “They know what to do – and we know what to do. We just need to do it. ”
UN Women said the overall number of newly infected people is shrinking and can continue to decrease, especially as new tools of prevention become accessible.
“However, according to a new UN report, of the young people who make up an estimated 41 percent of new infections, the majority of them – more than 60 per cent – are young women, with numbers rising to an alarming high of 72 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa – a clear demonstration of the long-recognized linkages between gender inequalities and the risk of infection,” UN Women said.
UN Women, the youngest UN agency, which became operational on 1 January 2011, is charged with advancing gender equality. It merges four previously distinct parts of the UN system which focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment.