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AIDS on the agenda in New York

“We are 30 years into the HIV epidemic; there has been tremendous success. Ten million people are now receiving antiretroviral therapy,” said Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit in her opening remarks at the Social Good Summit.


At a breakfast meeting earlier that day, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Director of the HIV Young Leaders Fund Pablo Aguilera met with some 50 innovative technology enthusiasts to challenge them to find ways for UNAIDS to use the potential of new media and communication tools to convey its message.

In her remarks, the Crown Princess pointed out that the battle against HIV/AIDS and discrimination against people with HIV is far from over. Together with UNAIDS, she is working to ensure that there is continued commitment to combatting HIV/AIDS after the target date of 2015 for the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as well.

Although the number of people being infected is decreasing and fewer are dying, HIV/AIDS will be an unfinished MDG. A concerted effort must be made to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, ensure universal access to treatment for all those who need it, and fight ignorance, taboos and prejudice.

Discussed new media and technology

The conference was held at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural centre in New York City. The Crown Princess was invited to participate in the opening panel discussion “The Next 15 Years: How will technology, data and digital media shape our world?”.

The panel also featured Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand and currently Administrator of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme); Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former deputy president of South Africa and currently Executive Director of UN Women; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; and Stacy Martinet, Chief Marketing Officer of Mashable, a UK-US website for news on social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, Twitter, Amazon and Pinterest.

The Social Good Summit is a conference on new media, technology and development, and is held parallel to UN Week. Organisers include Mashable, the United Nations Foundation, UNDP and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

UNAIDS Special Representative

In her role as a Special Representative for UNAIDS, the Crown Princess emphasises the particular importance of ensuring adequate youth leadership in AIDS-related work.

Young people are the most vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Forty per cent of all new HIV infections worldwide take place among those aged 15 to 24 years. Some 2 400 young people are infected each day. It is young people themselves who know best what it is like to be young, how to speak to their peers, and what the needs of young people are.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit will also be attending the Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, which starts on Monday. She will be following up her efforts to promote global women’s health and on behalf of UNAIDS.

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