(Message from UNAIDS Executive Director on International Women’s Day)
Ending violence against women is not only an urgent human rights need—it is critical to ending AIDS. Up to 7 out of 10 women experience violence in their lifetime. Violence or the fear of violence can prevent women from negotiating safer sex. At the same time women living with HIV are often more vulnerable to violence, which can stop women from getting the HIV care and treatment they need.
Today, half of all people living with HIV are women. Every minute one young woman is infected with HIV. This is not acceptable. Only when we value a girl’s health and welfare as highly as a boy’s, only when we listen and act equally to women’s voices—then can we have a chance at ending this epidemic.
On this International Women’s Day, I am counting on you to stand together as caring communities. Let us reach for shared dignity, mutual respect and a renewed commitment to end violence against women and girls.