Johannesburg — The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria strengthened its partnership with South Africa in the fight against HIV, announcing a new grant aimed at capitalizing on strong HIV programs to make even greater progress in treatment and prevention, in protecting and promoting human rights, and in strengthening health systems.
The grant, for US$369 million, includes specific efforts aimed at lowering HIV infection rates among adolescent girls and young women who are disproportionately affected by the disease.
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, made the announcement at the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 before an enormous crowd who came to see world leaders, top musical artists, business leaders and global activists.
"Mandela taught us many things, and one was that every single person needs to be treated with care and dignity," said Peter Sands. "Today we extend Mandela's legacy by acting with purpose and determination on HIV, and to reach adolescent girls and young women who are vulnerable to HIV by gender inequality and sexual violence."
The event, organized to celebrate Mandela's legacy 100 years after his birth, was partly inspired by Mandela's stirring leadership on HIV. Starting with a charity for HIV that he named 46664 after his prison number on Robben Island, Mandela began work by the South African government that has grown tremendously and achieved remarkable success.
With more than four million people on HIV treatment, South Africa now has the largest antiretroviral treatment program in the world. Yet leaders acknowledge that much more needs to be done. Despite falling infection rates, far too many people still get infected.
High infection rates among adolescent girls and young women are spurred by gender inequality, sexual violence, lack of access to education, and economic challenges. The Global Fund's new grant to South Africa includes investing in comprehensive projects to support adolescent girls and young women, in part by keeping them in school. The grant also includes support for finding people with tuberculosis who have not yet been diagnosed.
At the event, the Global Fund also celebrated a new partnership between Durex and (RED) to invest in programs that support efforts to keep girls in school by confronting challenges such as early pregnancy, poor academic performance, as well as other health and social challenges.
The Global Citizen Festival makes commitments to help end extreme poverty by 2030 as part of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Global Citizen works across the 17 Global Goals including Food and Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, Girls and Women, the Environment, Health and Finance and Innovation.
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