Adrienne Germain is President of the International Women's Health Coalition.
In the next five minutes, another 25 women and girls will be infected with HIV. They are students, housewives, teachers, mothers, and more. HIV/AIDS programs have failed them, just as they have failed the 17 million women currently living with HIV/AIDS, and the countless others who have already died. We must do better.
Let’s take a look at the failure and its causes. In 2001, governments of the world declared that we would empower women and girls against the pandemic. When the world’s governments and civil society again convene at the United Nations next week they need to recognize that the situation is worse for women and girls today than it was five years ago. Infection rates among women and girls are rising in all regions, not only sub-Saharan Africa, because policies and funded programs to empower and protect them have not been a priority.