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24 November 2017
Thousands of girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa are contracting HIV because they’re not able to choose what happens to their bodies. What happens to a girl’s body needs to be when she is ready to decide.
In the run up to World AIDS Day, the Alliance launches 'READY to Decide', a campaign that uses personal stories to highlight the link between gender inequality and the rising rate of HIV in adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa. Of all new infections among adolescents and young people aged 10–24 years, 65% are among adolescent girls and young women.
With HIV rates twice as high than in boys of the same age in the region, girls and young women must be able to choose what happens to their bodies when they are ready to decide.
The campaign points to the need for vital progress on Sustainable Development Goal 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) in order to curb rising HIV infections among young people.
The Alliance invests in youth-led community and health initiatives, and youth-led advocacy, recognising that young people themselves are key to challenging gender inequality and gender-based violence among their generation and others.
“As women, we need to speak up so girls see that it is not right, we do not accept it. We need to speak up so perpetrators know we won’t take this. We need to speak up so our leaders know that it’s a priority and, if they want to see our countries prosper, then they must speak up and act too.” - Phindile Andile Nhleko, Swaziland Network of Young Positives (SNP+)
'READY to Decide' supports our programme of work called READY. This is a movement, led by youth and the organisations serving them, which is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people, particularly those living with or most affected by HIV.
We call on young people to add their voice to the campaign by joining the READY Facebook page, building a youth-led movement around issues that are important to them. It is an opportunity for young people, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, to tell us what their friends, families, communities and governments can do to stop gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women.
'READY to Decide' will continue to share stories throughout the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November -10 December), including on World AIDS Day (1 December) and during the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (4-9 December), right the way through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December.