First Lady urges stronger action to create HIV free generation

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has said the world needs to unite to reverse the trend of rising HIV/AIDS infections affecting the youth, especially girls in the 15-24 age bracket.

She said that while the world is celebrating the overall reduction in HIV transmission rates, there was an alarming trend of new infections mostly among adolescents.

The First Lady spoke in Beijing where she gave a keynote address at a forum organised by the First Lady of the People’s Republic of China, Professor Peng Liyuan.

The forum was attended by African First Ladies, executives from the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organisation.

The First Lady, who spoke on behalf of the East African region, said Kenya strongly supports the call for an HIV free generation, adding that the surest way to succeed in the objective is to set higher goals in line with the vision.

“As we gear up to mark the 2018 World AIDS Day, we need to think of what we can do differently but together to completely halt HIV transmission and ensure we have a HIV free generation,’’ said the First Lady.

She called on countries that were represented at the forum to seriously consider use of data and research, sharing of information, apply critical lessons and borrowing from one another in order to control infections.

“We have no doubt about the hard work that has contributed to the tremendous progress in HIV and AIDS that has involved everyone: from Government, to Civil Society, to citizens and other change makers,’’ she said.

On her part, the Chinese First Lady, who was recently presented with the UNAIDS Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of her remarkable contribution to the global response to HIV, said that HIV has no boundaries.

She said the actions required to halt the spread of HIV include scientific and policy measures, adherence to drug treatment protocols, people-oriented care, and community participation.

The conference closed with a call for a collective plan of action and reaffirmation of China and Africa’s unity in pooling resources towards a future free of AIDS.

Other speakers at the conference included First Ladies from South Africa, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, and Sudan, as well as the Minister for National Health Commission of China, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS Mr Michel Sidibe.


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