Feature story

Women join forces in Latin America

30 October 2007

First Ladies and women leaders from Latin America
and UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Deborah
Landey joined forces in the response to AIDS in the
region. Photo credit: UNAIDS

The Coalition of First Ladies and Women Leaders of Latin America on HIV held its third meeting in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Friday 26 October to discuss the growing rates of HIV infection among women in Latin America and the impact of AIDS on women in the region.

Participants included the First Ladies of Honduras, Mexico, Dominican Republic and El Salvador, the First Ladies’ representative of Suriname, representatives from Ministries of Health, parliamentarians, representatives from the International Coalition of Women and civil society organizations including women living with HIV.

They expressed their firm commitment to take action in response to the AIDS epidemic. This commitment was reaffirmed by Deborah Landey, Deputy Executive Director UNAIDS, who gave a keynote speech at the meeting. “We must demonstrate and promote strong and sustained leadership, throughout the region, to place women at the centre of the agenda. Not mainstreamed. Not sidelined. At the centre,” she said.

Participants discussed ways of implementing the “action platform” which was approved at the last meeting of the Coalition held in Buenos Aires in April 2007. The “action platform” is a strategy designed to mitigate the impact of AIDS in the region, particularly in the context of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and which promotes women rights in a supportive environment, free of stigma and discrimination. 

Also present at the meeting was the President of the Republic of Honduras, His Excellency Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who delivered a strong message to the participants emphasising the urgent need to address gender inequalities for an effective response to AIDS.

The Coalition of First Ladies and Women Leaders of Latin America, chaired by the First Lady of Honduras Her Excellency Xiomara Castro de Zelaya and supported by UNAIDS and UNFPA, was established in New York on June 2nd 2006, in the context of a parallel meeting of the 26th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Coalition is the first initiative of its kind in the region. It involves First Ladies and women leaders in an alliance committed to advocating for stronger political leadership and resource mobilization to make universal access a reality, and reduce the vulnerability of women to AIDS in Latin American countries.


View photo-gallery
Read the speech by the UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Deborah Landey
Watch the video of The Coalition of Latin American First Ladies and Women Leaders
Visit the web site of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS
More on women and AIDS
More on AIDS in Latin America
Read other feature stories about AIDS in Latin America

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