Putting youth at the centre of global efforts to end AIDS by 2030

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Elijah, 12, with UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibé and UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Victoria Beckham. Photo: UNAIDS

Ending the AIDS epidemic will require putting adolescents, particularly girls, at the centre of global efforts to fight the disease, the United Nations said on Sunday.

World leaders have been looking at ways to ramp up action to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target of stamping out the disease by 2030.

Dianne Penn reports.

AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa, according to Michel Sidibé, head of the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS.

HIV is the virus which causes AIDS.

As girls have eight times the risk of being infected with HIV than boys, they should be at the centre of the global response to the disease, Mr Sidibé said.

The United Nations estimates that roughly 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV.

Twelve-year-old Elijah Zachary Lemein from Kenya is one of them.

"Presidents, thank you for making the promise to end AIDS by 2030. But if we are really going to end AIDS by 2030, we must make sure that all the children living with HIV must be on their medication for their whole life. Please keep your promise."

Academy-Award winning actress Charlize Theron spoke of how stigma and powerlessness are fuelling the spread of the disease among youth in her native South Africa.

The UN Messenger of Peace is the founder of a project aimed at keeping young South Africans safe from HIV and AIDS.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’08″

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