UNAIDS gets new voice of goodwill

Updated: 2014-09-26 22:07

By Shan Juan(chinadaily.com.cn)

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New York - UNAIDS, the United Nations' joint program to fight HIV/AIDS, appointed leading fashion designer Victoria Beckham as its international goodwill ambassador at a special event on Thursday during the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

"I dream of a generation free from HIV, and I know that Victoria's support will help us to achieve this shared goal," said Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS' executive director.

"Her creativity, innovation and outreach will amplify our efforts and bring us one important step closer toward ending the AIDS epidemic," he said.

In her new role Beckham will work to ensure that all children are born free of HIV and that children and women who are living with and affected by it have access to medicines and care.

"This is the beginning of an important journey for me. As a woman and a mother I have a responsibility to support other women," Beckham said. "I am proud and honored to be working with UNAIDS in this new role to help to raise resources and awareness to support and empower women and children affected by HIV."

In February, Beckham visited HIV clinics in Cape Town, South Africa, where she learned about the importance of antiretroviral therapy and about how children are being left behind because of difficulty in accessing treatment.

Antiretroviral therapy can reduce the risk of a mother with HIV passing the virus to her child to below 5 percent. But in 2013, one-third of pregnant women living with HIV did not have access to the lifesaving medicines. As a result, 240,000 children became infected.

In 2013, less than half of all children who were exposed to HIV were tested for the virus within the optimum three-month period, and only 24 percent had access to lifesaving treatment.

Without treatment, half of all children born with HIV will die by age 2, and the majority will die by age of 5.