Empowering girls advances HIV response
Worldwide, there are approximately 880 million adolescent girls and young women aged 15–24 years. Despite making up 12% of the world’s population, this population is often left without a voice or control of their own bodies. Gender-based violence and limited access to health care and education, coupled with systems and policies that do not address the needs of young people, are obstacles that block adolescent girls and young women from being able to protect themselves against HIV, particularly as they transition into adulthood.
“Girls count! We need to know what counts for girls, to make sure that they start life HIV-free, stay HIV-free or remain AIDS-free,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.
Around 120 million girls (aged 15–19 years old) worldwide had experienced rape or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives.
In high HIV prevalence areas, women exposed to intimate partner violence were 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, with child marriage a risk factor for intimate partner violence.
Almost 1100 adolescent girls and young women (aged 15–24 years old) were newly infected with HIV every day.
About 70% of adolescent girls and young women (aged 15–24 years old) did not have comprehensive and correct knowledge of HIV.
HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer are strongly linked. Giving HPV vaccine to all girls aged 9 to 13, regardless of HIV status, will prevent cervical cancer in later life.