Girls and Young Women Face Double Vulnerability, and Double Efforts Needed to Protect Them
Monday, August 11, 2008 9:43 AM

6 August 2008

INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE, Mexico City—Purnima Mane, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and Gill Greer, Director-General of IPPF, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, in collaboration with Young Positives and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, today launched Make it Matter, a guide to help prevent HIV among girls and young women.

“Every day, some 7,000 young women become HIV positive, and we need to do more to support them to protect their health and avoid infection,” said Ms. Mane. “Girls and young women face double vulnerability, and double efforts are needed to protect them.”

Make it Matter focuses on three goals that are recognized as important components of a successful response to the epidemic: the improvement of the access to sexual and reproductive health for girls and young women; the expansion of socio-economic opportunities for girls and young women; and the end of child marriage.

“HIV prevention is a notoriously challenging field, “ said Ms Greer. “There is no magic solution. The answers are as complex as the lives led by girls and young women – lives that are shaped by a changing variety of social, cultural, political and economic issues. These selected areas often do not get the attention they rightfully deserve.”

Developed by UNFPA, IPPF and Young Positives, Make it Matter presents successful national experiences on HIV prevention with the aim of scaling up good programmes. According to Ms. Mane, the examples in this guide show that HIV prevention works due to the efforts of local activists, national governments and the support of the international community:

  • The Viet Nam Family Planning Association worked to reduce risk-taking behaviour among sex workers in two cities by informing them about sexual and reproductive health.

  • In South Africa, the Intervention for AIDS and Gender Equity and Rural AIDS and Development Actions Research partnered up to help improve communication between mothers and daughters on topics such as sexuality and relationships.

  • In India, civil society organizations and activists contributed to the passing of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, which protects young women from early sexual relations that put them at risk of HIV infection.

    “This guide is for those activists and organizations for whom the safety and health of our young generation matters, but also for those people who want to make the health of girls and young women matter for everyone,” Ms. Mane concluded.

    Contact information: Trygve Olfarnes
    Cell Phone: + 52 1 55 1353-8451

    Published in: Girls and Young Women Face Double Vulnerability, and Double Efforts Needed to Protect Them, Press Release, UNFPA, 6 August 2008.