First Lady Roman visits UNAIDS

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Addis Ababa, 30 April 2014 (WIC) - UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé met with the First Lady of Ethiopia, Roman Tesfaye, on 28 April at UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, where they discussed the progress made in the response to AIDS in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia made substantial gains between 2009 and 2013 in increasing access to HIV prevention and treatment services among pregnant women living with HIV and children. As a result, the number of new HIV infections among children dropped by 54% and the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission coverage reached 50%.

Mr Sidibé commended the continuous efforts of the First Lady towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children and her commitments to improving the lives of women, young people and children in Ethiopia. Praising her actions, Mr Sidibé stressed that education is critical to reducing the number of new HIV infections, particularly among girls, given the high level of HIV prevalence among women in the country.

The First Lady informed Mr Sidibé about her current involvement in the development of HIV prevention campaigns in Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz, two of the regions with the highest HIV burden in the country.

"Joint efforts are needed to redirect our interventions towards high-burden regions and geographical hotspots in view of changing the epidemic trends in Ethiopia," First Lady Roman said.

The First Lady is a member of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS and is particularly engaged in development work on HIV and gender issues, including maternal and child health and nutrition. (UNAIDS)