UN: UN/AU report says women, girls in Africa left behind in fight against HIV/AIDS

New York, US (PANA) - Despite considerable advances made in the global response to the
AIDS epidemic over the last several decades, young women and adolescent girls in Africa
are still left behind, according to a new joint report of the UN and the African Union

In a statement on the report Wednesday, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
said in Sub-Saharan region, AIDS-related illnesses remain the leading cause of death
among girls and women of reproductive age.

UNAIDS noted that in 2013, 74 percent of new HIV infections among African adolescents
were adolescent girls,

It said young women and adolescent girls acquire HIV on average five to seven years
earlier than young men, and in some countries in the region, HIV prevalence among
this population can be as much as seven times that of their male counterparts.

The statement quoted Ms. Sheila Tlou, UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern and
Southern Africa, as saying: "In the absence of a vaccine, ending gender-based violence,
keeping girls in school and empowering young women and adolescent girls are the
best options we have available."

UNAIDS and AU launched the joint report entitled: 'Empower young women and
adolescent girls: Fast-Tracking the end of the AIDS epidemic in Africa', to guide
regional and global advocacy and inform political dialogue on HIV prevention and
treatment among young women and adolescent girls.

The document outlined three political commitments to advance the rights and
empowerment of Africa’s young women and girls to help fast-track an AIDS
response firmly rooted in gender equality and social justice.

UN and AU noted that the commitments are to stop new HIV infections among
young women and adolescent girls in order to ensure that AIDS is no longer the
leading cause of death among adolescents, to empower young women and
adolescent girls through comprehensive sexuality education and to prevent HIV
infections among children and keep their mothers alive.

"As we work with our communities, our networks, our health service providers and
our governments, we must commit to demanding a comprehensive focus on young
women in the AIDS response," said Rosemary Museminali, UNAIDS Representative
to the AU.
-0-  PANA AA/AR 10June2015

10 june 2015 19:26:45

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