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UNAIDS calls for action to achieve gender equality, end AIDS

by Haruna Gimba

By Haruna Gimba

United Nations Joint Actions on Aids (UNAIDS) is gearing up for the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (#CSW68) which begins today and will run until 22 March 2024.

#CSW68, the United Nations largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, is being held this year under the priority theme, Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

Despite progress, no country has achieved gender equality to date, and violations of women’s human rights and gender-based violence are continuing to fuel the AIDS pandemic.

The world is off track to meet the gender targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in many of the world’s poorest countries, the debt crisis is squeezing out investment in education, health, and social protection, particularly hurting women and girls.

Around the world today, 129 million girls are out of school, denying them lifesaving information on how to protect themselves from HIV.

Every three minutes, an adolescent girl or young woman (15-24 years) acquired HIV in 2022 in sub-Saharan Africa, and across Africa, AIDS remains the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.

“There can be no more excuses. Ending AIDS among women and girls is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic priority for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

“Only by protecting and investing in the rights of women and girls can we protect their health, and only by protecting women’s health can we end the AIDS pandemic. We must seize this opportunity to accelerate progress towards a world where every woman and girl can, not just survive, but thrive.”

During #CSW68 UNAIDS will be co-hosting several key events including a high-level meeting co-convened by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Education Plus (a joint initiative of UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women) which will mobilize government, partners and stakeholders to accelerate scaled up actions on women’s rights and leverage girls’ education for gender equality and HIV prevention across Africa.

UNAIDS is urging renewed action and anticipates strong outcomes from #CSW68.

UNAIDS looks forward to the partnerships that will be forged to accelerate progress towards gender equality and ending AIDS as a global public health threat.

UNAIDS remains steadfast in its commitment to working collaboratively with governments, civil society, and other partners to create a world where the rights and dignity of all women and girls are respected and protected, including women and girls living with, at risk of and affected by HIV.

#CSW68, hosted by the United Nations, will convene leaders, advocates, governments, civil society organizations, activists and experts to discuss, agree on actions and investments that can end women’s poverty and advance gender equality.

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