UN Women amplifies women’s voices at the International AIDS Conference

At the upcoming International AIDS Conference (IAC) held in Washington D.C (22 – 27 July) , UN Women aims to give visibility and amplify the voice of women, in particular women living with HIV. Held every two years, the IAC is the world’s largest conference on HIV and plays a fundamental role in shaping the global response to HIV and in keeping HIV and AIDS on the international political agenda. At this year’s Conference, UN Women will for the first time attend as an official co-sponsor of UNAIDS and as a key player for championing gender equality and women’s empowerment in the global AIDS response.

Today, about half of all people living with HIV are women or girls, with variations within regions, countries and communities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls comprise 60 per cent of people living with HIV. HIV is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age worldwide, and every minute, a young woman is infected with HIV. Despite these alarming statistics, more than half of the 170 countries represented in the 2012 UNAIDS report did not have a multisectoral HIV strategy that includes women with an earmarked budget to implement programmes directed at women living with HIV.

Differences in vulnerability to and impact of HIV on women and girls versus men and boys are intrinsically connected to gender inequality, unequal power relations, gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination. The risk of HIV among women who have experienced violence may be up to three times higher than those who have not.

While progress has been achieved, more needs to be done.

UN Women’s presence and voice at the IAC 2012 will sustain visibility of this issue amongst decision-makers and donors and for providing an advocacy platform for our national partners, governments and civil society, especially HIV positive women’s networks and organizations.
Dalish Prum, acting National Coordinator at the Cambodian Community of Women living with HIV (CCW), Cambodia Ms. Prum was born in 1985; she has been living with HIV since 2000. She has been actively engaged with CCW’s work since 2007 as Program Officer, working directly with grassroots women as well as with policy-makers at the national level. She has been selected to represent the voice of women living with HIV in Cambodia’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She has been at the forefront of working with HIV positive women in leadership roles; and mobilizing women and adolescent girls with HIV to participate in self-help group activities. Ms. Prum is committed to advocating for the rights and leadership of women living with HIV.


Violet Shivutse, caregiver and founder of Shibuye Community Health Workers, Kenya Ms. Shivutse has worked as a caregiver for the last 15 years. She has brought her considerable experience to anchor the caregivers in Kakamega region in West Kenya and to initiate a Home Based Care Alliance which brings together 2,300 grassroots women working as caregivers. Ms. Shivutse is a steering Committee member within the Global Coalition on Women and Aids (GCWA) and has also been appointed to the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Board.


Sannia Sutherland, Director of Prevention, National HIV/STI Programme, Jamaica Ms. Sutherland joined the National HIV/Sexual Transmitted Infections Programme (NHP) in 2004. She currently serves as the Director of Prevention where she provides strategic management of the HIV Prevention Programme. Ms. Sutherland has also worked at UNICEF and the Planning Institute of Jamaica. Most notable is her contribution to the development of the Global Fund Round to support a full HIV Programme inclusive of access to treatment, care and support, prevention and policy development.


Nazneen Damji, UN Women’s Gender Equality and HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor Ms. Damji provides technical advice to country and regional offices and supports their efforts to implement programmes addressing the gender equality dimensions of HIV/AIDS. She brings particular expertise in the areas of the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on households and in leveraging information and communication technologies (ICT) to advocate for more gender-sensitive, rights-based HIV/AIDS programming. She is the creator and coordinator of the UN Women Gender and HIV/AIDS Web Portal, an on-line knowledge hub for tools, resources, and information on gender equality dimensions of the epidemic . Ms. Damji earned her MSc. in Economics (Gender and Development) at the London School of Economics.


UN Women will be hosting, co-sponsoring and speaking at a number of events throughout the conference:


1) UN Women’s Satellite Session – Cosponsored by UNAIDS, ATHENA Network, CIDA and Huariou Commission

“Women Leading, Organizing and Inspiring Change in the AIDS Response”

Venue: Washington Convention Center, Mini Room 4
Date: Sunday, 22 July 2012
Time: 1:30pm–3:30pm

2) World Health Organization’s (WHO) Satellite Session – Cosponsored by UN Women & UN Women speaker

“Gender-based Violence and HIV/AIDS: Taking Stock of the Evidence and Setting an Implementation Agenda”

Venue: Washington Convention Center, Mini Room 5
Date: Sunday, 22 July 2012
Time: 11:15–1:15pm

3) Women’s Networking Zone – Cosponsored by UN Women & UN Women speaker

Venue: Global Village
Date:Sunday, 22 July 2012
Time: 5:00pm

The Women’s Networking Zone is an inclusive space in the Global Village that puts a spotlight on women and young women to ensure that their priorities and expertise is visible.

4) Congressional Reception – UN Women speaker

“AIDS free generation? Not without women”

Venue: Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Atrium, East Capitol Street & First Street Northeast, Washington, DC.
Date: Tuesday, 24th July
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

5) Women’s Networking Zone Event – UN Women speaker

“M&E in the Context of HIV and Women’s Rights: Shaping the Evidence Base”

Venue: Global Village, Women Networking Zone, Main Stage.
Date: Wednesday, 25th July
Time: 3:45 – 4:45 pm

6) International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) & Women Deliver’s Satellite Session – UN Women Speaker

“Advancing the Integration of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health: An Interactive Dialogue”

Venue:Washington Convention Center, Session Room 6.
Date: Wednesday, 25th July
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm




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