In November 2015, ATHENA participated in a high level panel in the UK Houses of Parliament organized by STOPAIDS, which affirmed the commitment by the UK government, PEPFAR and UNAIDS to redouble efforts around HIV prevention among young women and adolescent girls. ATHENA welcomed the opportunity to be part of this panel, especially with the release of UNAIDS' new 2016 - 2021 strategy following the PCB meeting last week, and with the DREAMS country plans currently under review.
We strongly welcome global leaders' mobilization around the rights and needs of young women and adolescent girls - an extremely vulnerable cohort who have largely been left behind in the HIV response -- despite progress seen among other groups -- especially in Southern and Eastern Africa. The window of opportunity to redress the balance is narrow, however, and in addition to scaling up prevention, treatment and linkages to care among girls and young women, we also see an urgent imperative and opportunity to strengthen women's civil society, and to invest in young women's advocacy, leadership and meaningful participation in the design, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these efforts, in order for them to achieve maximum and lasting reach -- not just for young women and girls, but for ALL women, in ALL of our diversity, and ACROSS our life cycle.
ATHENA is pleased to be working with colleagues at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to bring our gender equality and women's rights expertise to a review of the DREAMS plans to ensure they fulfill their ambition; to continue our long-standing partnership with UNAIDS; and to be working with STOPAIDS to support the UK's Department of International Development (DFID) to improve the lives of women and girls -- and to promote a model of meaningful engagement of young women and adolescent girls that can be fully integrated at each stage.
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