Panama City /Atlanta, April 7, 2016 - The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) has appointed the renowned news anchor for CNN, Alejandra Ora, as UNAIDS Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean. The announcement was made on occasion of the commemoration of World Health Day 2016. "With her charisma and dedication, Alejandra will help to strengthen the HIV response in Latin America and the Caribbean with the aim of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030" said César Núñez, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Alejandra Oraa, born in Vargas, Venezuela, is anchor of Café CNN, a morning news program on CNN in Spanish broadcasted from Atlanta (USA), and Destinos CNN, a weekly TV program on the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
In her new role as a UNAIDS Regional Ambassador, Alejandra will work towards raising public awareness and understanding of gender inequality as a key driver of the HIV epidemic, promoting an integral approach to HIV based on human rights and as part of the health agenda for women and youth.
“I have always believed in the power of changing our reality. And this need for change motivates me to use my vocation as a journalist, to advocate for a just and equal world” expressed Alejandra Oraa. “It’s an honor to be working with UNAIDS in this new role to raise awareness to empower women and girls”.
Alejandra Oraa will during the coming year visit several countries in the region, where she will have the opportunity to hear about the best practices and lessons learned from the HIV response, especially regarding women and girls, highlighting their vulnerability to the epidemic.
The HIV status of women in Latin America and the Caribbean
Although Latin America and the Caribbean are characterized by a concentrated epidemic in key populations, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to HIV.
It is estimated that 1.7 million people, including 540,000 women, were living with HIV in Latin America in 2014. In the Caribbean, 280 000 people were living with HIV in 2014, with an equal number of women and men living with HIV.
Women and girls’ vulnerability to HIV is closely linked to gender inequities in politics, economies and society, as well as to gender violence and abuse. Several studies show a correlation between experiences of violence and HIV infection.
Moreover, early sexual debut, a reality in Latin America and the Caribbean, exposes girls and adolescents to a higher risk of HIV infection, particularly when it occurs within violent relationships, as it is often impossible for them to negotiate condom use. Limited access to friendly comprehensive services, information and education on sexual and reproductive health increase the vulnerability of girls and young women.
Through different platforms, Alejandra Oraa will advocate for an HIV response taking into account the specific needs of women and young people, women’s empowerment and gender equality to contribute to ending AIDS by 2030 and realizing the SDGs.
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The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org.br and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.