January 30, 2018
In the fight against the AIDS epidemic, it’s crucial to remember those who are most heavily affected by the disease, and invest in interventions that help them lead healthier, safer lives. Despite significant progress in the past 15 years, today adolescent girls and young women bear the brunt of the global AIDS epidemic. Each week, nearly 7,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV. And in countries with the highest disease burden, girls account for more than 80 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents. If the global community truly intends to end AIDS, then empowering women and girls will be a crucial component to that success.
To that end, the Global Fund recently launched the HER – HIV Epidemic Response – initiative, which will focus on bringing in new partners and resources from the private sector to drive down infection rates among adolescent girls and young women. Partners already committed to HER include The Coca-Cola Company, Standard Bank, Unilever and ViiV Healthcare, as well as Product (RED), which will expand its operations in Africa with the support of A4A, Coca-Cola and SAP. In addition to providing financial support for impactful HIV programming, HER will lend expertise to countries designing programs to meet the needs of women and girls.
HER will help drive awareness of the issues facing adolescent girls and young women, and ensure their voices are heard in advocacy and key decisions related to HIV prevention programs. HER builds upon the groundbreaking leadership of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its DREAMS partnership, which works to support determined, resilient, empowered, AIDS-free, mentored and safe women. PEPFAR and DREAMS have fostered greater global recognition of the scope of the challenge in reaching women to reduce their risk for HIV.
To build on the Global Fund’s collaborative work with U.S. bilateral programs like PEPFAR and achievements to date, HER will expand and leverage investments in women and girls. Learn more about HER, watch the video below, and please share. By supporting women and girls, the world can move closer to ending AIDS as an epidemic.