UNAIDS report calls for women and girls to be put at the centre of the AIDS response
UNAIDS urges the UN system to take action to support governments, civil society and development partners in reinforcing country actions to ensure that the human rights of women and girls are protected and put at the centre of the global AIDS response. The ‘Agenda for Accelerated Country Action for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV (2010-2014)’ entails a five year action plan with clear points on how the UN can work together with governments, civil society and development partners to:
• produce better information on the specific needs of women and children in the context of HIV;
• turn political commitments into increased resources and actions so HIV programmes can better respond to the needs of women and girls; and
• support leaders to build safer environments in which women’s and girls’ human rights are protected.
HIV is today the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age (15-49) worldwide and the situation is particularly severe in Southern Africa where 60 percent of people living with HIV are women. Unfortunately HIV services often fail to sufficiently address the specific needs of women and girls.
AIDS Accountability International’s own initiative, the AIDS Accountability Scorecard on Women, was launched in December last year and shows that governments worldwide are failing women in the global AIDS response. The Scorecard highlights the need for better reporting on what governments are doing to respond to the specific vulnerabilities of women and girls.
The UNAIDS report also states that up to 70 percent of women worldwide encounter violence and that this hampers women’s ability to negotiate safer sex. “Violence against women is unacceptable and must not be tolerated”, said UNAIDS’s Executive Director Michael Sidibé during the press conference on Tuesday.
“Women and girls are not victims, they are the driving force that brings about social transformation”, Sibidé continued.