FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Panel on Effort to End Aids Epidemic by 2030 Focuses on Youth Engagement

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Malawi President Peter Mutharika recently co-hosted a high-level panel discussion with the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) that focused on how current efforts on prevention can be scaled up to end the epidemic by 2030.

“We should be able to enter this new era, the era of the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals, with hope,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said. “We will not win against this epidemic unless we put adolescents at the centre of our fight. Adolescent girls have up to eight times higher risk of HIV infection than boys. Today in Africa, the first cause of death among adolescence is AIDS.”

The panel featured an array of speakers including UN Messenger of Peace Charlize Theron.

Theron, now a popular actress, recalled her childhood in South Africa where she grew up in the midst of the AIDs epidemic and advocated for steps to be taken to fight the infection.

“Young people are falling through the cracks in our fight to end this epidemic,” Theron said. “But we have reason to have hope to reach our goal of ending AIDS by 2030. Because we know what works: empowering young people to take control of their health.”

Other speakers included Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and United States Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom.

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