Video Message from the UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima on Zero Discrimination Day and International Women’s Day
1 March 2020
I am Winnie Byanyima, I lead the work of the United Nations to tackle AIDS. I’m also someone who has lost family members to AIDS. This is personal.
Both my own family experience and our collective experience at the United Nations have highlighted the same key lesson: the struggle to beat AIDS is inseparable from the struggle for women’s rights and the struggle against all forms of discrimination.
AIDS can be beaten, but it can only be beaten if we take on the social and economic injustices which perpetuate it, and if we spur more scientific innovations to address the real needs of women and girls and people living with HIV.
Worldwide, AIDS remains the biggest killer of women aged 15-49 years. To end AIDS by 2030, we must end violence against women and girls, and ensure that women and girls have equal access to education, health and employment.
We need to transform our societies so that no one is second class and everyone’s human rights are respected. AIDS can’t be beaten while marginalized communities, such as LGBT people, men who have sex with men*, people who inject drugs, sex workers, live in fear of the state or of socially-sanctioned violence and abuse.
Beating AIDS depends on tackling all forms of discrimination.
I want to thank all the brave and determined social justice movements who are the true leaders in this work.
I salute you.
Feminism, human rights and zero discrimination are values deeply rooted across the world: they express our humanity, our recognition that I am because you are. And they are central in the struggle to beat AIDS.
Let’s beat AIDS. It can be done.