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Geneva: New Year's greetings from the GCWA!

04 Jan, 2012
By: Dr. Jantine Jacobi

Dear GCWA friends and members, I would like to wish you and your loved ones the very best for the New Year.

Looking forward to the coming year from it is clear that we are at a critical point. The HIV response has made real progress. The number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy is increasing, with over 6·65 million patients in middle-income and low-income countries receiving treatment at the end of 2010. The response has brought women’s rights issues, such as gender inequality, sex work and sexual and reproductive health to the forefront of public policy. Over 90 countries are now operationalising the UNAIDS Agenda for Women and Girls. The Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive is guiding countries to scale up prevention of vertical transmission and addressing the health needs of mothers. The ambitious goals of universal access are reachable.

However, we know the global response to HIV and work on women’s rights face a number of challenges. The impact of the great recession is increasingly constraining resources. Money invested in the AIDS response from donor countries fell by 10% in 2010; more recently the Global Fund announced the cancellation of a funding for new projects. Furthermore, the rise in political conservatism is restricting space for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, as evidenced in the negotiations around the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. Meanwhile at the community level, hundreds of thousands of women and girls continue to acquire and die from HIV. Young women remain particularly vulnerable to HIV. In high prevalence contexts they are up to five times more likely more likely to be HIV positive than young men, and. globally twice more likely.

Overcoming these challenges requires both creativity and persistence. 2012 presents significant opportunities for advocating for increased investment in women and girls, to ensure that women’s rights and gender equality are upheld as critical enablers for effective HIV responses. Through combined strength, expertise and partnerships, we can jointly lead the change for a better and more equal world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

This is the moment to, individually and collectively, renew our vigour and solidarity for women, girls, gender equality and HIV. I look forward an inspiring and rewarding year ahead!



 Dr. Jantine Jacobi

Director of the Global Coalition for Women and Girls

tel. +41 22 7911056, email.