26 September 2015
GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria welcomes an initiative by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to drastically reduce HIV infections in girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African nations hard hit by the disease.
“The best investment we can make to end HIV as an epidemic is giving women and girls an equal opportunity,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We need to focus on a person, not an issue.”
Gender inequalities and discrimination against women fuel a disproportionate number of infections among them. In the hardest hit countries, girls account for more than 80 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents. HIV is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 in eastern and southern Africa.
The Global Fund works closely with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), whose initiative aims for a 25 percent infection reduction in women between ages 15-24 by the end of next year and a 40 percent reduction by the end of 2017.
The 10 countries that will be targets of the new initiatives accounted for nearly half of all new HIV infections among girls and young women last year. The countries are Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.