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IRIN Examines HIV/AIDS Advocates’ Reaction To U.N. Agency For Women

IRIN examines how a recent resolution to create an agency to promote women’s “rights and wellbeing” by the U.N. General Assembly is being welcomed by international HIV/AIDS advocates. According to IRIN, “[w]omen make up 60 percent of people living with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, a figure that rises to 75 percent in the 15-24 age range. In Asia, nearly 50 million women are at risk of becoming infected with HIV from their partners.”

The agency is seen as “long overdue” by some HIV/AIDS advocates. “‘We see this not as an end but a beginning – the U.N.’s first attempt to form a serious gender entity, and the Secretary-General’s opportunity to make a monumental change both in the way the U.N. operates, and in the lives of women everywhere,’ said Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS-Free World and former U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa,” IRIN writes.

“We hope the new agency will help with advocacy around women’s issues, and will lead to more grass-roots support for HIV-positive women,” Marion Natukunda, project director for a Ugandan NGO, said. According to IRIN, “AIDS-Free World urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reserve a seat for the head of the women’s agency on the Committee of Co-sponsoring Organizations that comprise UNAIDS” (9/18).