Nane Annan says men and women must join forces in fight against

Addressing a luncheon in New York held to mark International Women’s Day – traditionally observed on 8 March – she pointed out that women now make up more than half of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide – a figure which rises to two-thirds among women aged 15 to 24 worldwide. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, girls of that age “may be five to six times more likely than boys of the same age to be infected,” she noted.She hailed the support of men, noting that the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS formed last month includes the participation of people of both sexes in the shared struggle to stop the disease from spreading.Illustrating this point, she recalled an encounter in Chile with a social worker helping abused women. “When I asked those I met there what message they would like to send to the UN for the observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in November he said: ‘Make sure that men join hands with you,'” she said, adding, “His words still reverberate.”She also drew on personal experience to highlight the crucial role being played by young men as well as young women in the fight against AIDS. “From Pakistan to Bolivia, from Sarajevo to Mozambique, Ethiopia and Cameroon, I have met young people seriously engaged in peer education about the dangers of AIDS,” she said. “They have been passionate, caring, sometimes bold and direct, and you could see that these were not ‘nerds’, but ‘cool’ young people to whom others will listen.”The event was hosted by the United States Committee for the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Mrs. Annan hailed the group, telling participants that “By supporting UNIFEM, you are supporting women all around the world, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day of the year.” read more