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UN Declaration on HIV/AIDS Addresses Feminization of the Epidemic

After some concern that the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS, held last week in New York City, would not address the importance of empowering women and girls in the fight to stem the AIDS pandemic, the Political Declaration agreed upon explicitly confronts the issue several times. Jan Eliasson, the Assembly President, stated during his closing remarks, that the Declaration includes “strong languageÉon women and girls.” He added, “I would hope that we can all use this new energy to translate this Declaration into action, to make a difference between life and death for many, and give a life in dignity for all affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Six out of the 53 points listed in the UN’s Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS directly address the effect of the disease on women and girls and the document pointedly includes the phrase “feminization of the pandemic.” The Declaration also condemns “gender-based abuse and violence,” “all forms of discrimination,” “harmful traditional and customary practices,” and “trafficking in women and girls.”

Sources:

Closing remarks of Assembly President Jan Eliasson 6/2/06; Human Rights Watch press release 6/1/06; United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS 6/2/06

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