Secretary-General Report: Women, the girl child and HIV and AIDS

In its resolution 56/5, the Commission on the Status of Women requested the Secretary-General to report to the Commission at its fifty-eighth session on the situation of women, the girl child and HIV and AIDS,1 with an emphasis on accelerated actions taken, in accordance with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the 2006 and 2011 Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS and the 2011 Commitments on HIV/AIDS.

Summary

Persistent gender inequality and human rights violations that put women and
girls at greater risk of infection continue to hamper progress in preventing the spread
of HIV and increasing access to antiretroviral treatment. In addition to women’s and
girls’ biological susceptibility to HIV, many interacting sociocultural, economic and
legal challenges compound their vulnerability to infection.

The challenges to the health and well-being of women and girls, including the
lack of accessible and affordable health services, education and employment
opportunities, inequitable property and inheritance rights, harmful cultural norms and
child marriage, persist across countries and hinder efforts to mitigate the epidemic.

Member States have made progress in improving the situation of women and
girls infected with and affected by HIV. However, given the multidimensionality of
the epidemic’s impact on women and girls, further accelerated action is required at
the national, regional and international levels. Significant gaps persist in actions and
funding to provide gender-responsive programmes and services that take into account
the challenges and barriers brought on by structural and social realities. There is a
need to do more to eradicate harmful gender norms and discriminatory laws and to
promote the meaningful participation of women and girls in national and
international decision-making processes.

The present report highlights progress reported by Member States and within
the United Nations system to implement Commission on the Status of Women
resolution 56/5, along with the related gaps and challenges, and concludes with
recommendations for future actions.