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26 October 2017, 10:10
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Sidibé Engaging France's First Lady on education and HIV

Sidibé Engaging France's First Lady on education and HIV - picture 1

During a visit to Paris, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé met with France's First Lady Brigitte Macron at the Elysée Palace to discuss the links between education and HIV.

Mr Sidibé explained that in sub-Saharan Africa, three in four new HIV infections in 15-19 year olds are among girls. And HIV is the third leading cause of death among young women aged 15-29 globally.

The causes vary but lower access to education along with gender inequalities erode women and girls' ability to negotiate safe sex and have control over their bodies. In addition, most young people lack the knowledge to protect themselves from HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, surveys from 35 countries showed that only 36% of young men and 30% of young women correctly identified the ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.

Mr Sidibé stressed that when girls stay in school they are less vulnerable to HIV. He also emphasized that age-appropriate comprehensive sex education for girls and boys is a cornerstone to end the AIDS epidemic.

Acknowledging Mrs Macron's vast experience in education as a teacher and educator, Mr Sidibé offered support to organize an event on girls’ education on the sidelines of the Dakar financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education in February 2018. Senegal and France are co-hosting the event to raise funds for teachers' trainings and to promote scientific and computer education in schools.

UNAIDS has invited the First Lady of France at its Geneva headquarters in the coming year and to join the First Ladies of Africa at next year's General Assembly in New York.

Author: Lilia Ten

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