At the Women Deliver youth pre-conference, taking place on 15 and 16 May in Copenhagen, Denmark, UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway underlined the central role to be played by young women and adolescent girls in ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Her Royal Highness stressed the need for young women and adolescent girls to take leadership roles in the AIDS response so that programmes and services could be developed to meet their specific needs and to ensure that their sexual and reproductive health and rights were respected.

Young women and girls remain disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2014, there were around 220 000 new HIV infections worldwide among adolescents aged 10 to 19, with adolescent girls accounting for 62% of new infections among this age group. In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls aged 10 to 19 made up 72% of total new infections among this age group.

The Women Deliver youth pre-conference is a crucial opportunity for young activists in the HIV response to make their voices heard in the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, which will take place in New York, United States of America, from 8 to 10 June. It is also a chance for hundreds of young activist to take stock of programmes such as the All In initiative to #EndadolescentAIDS and to outline ways forward to ensure a greater youth participation in development.

The Crown Princess has been involved in the AIDS response since 2003 and is a powerful advocate for youth engagement and the empowerment of women. The Crown Princess recently visited the United Republic of Tanzania to assess progress made in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to see how young people were engaging in the AIDS response.


“I truly believe engaged youth is key. Key to managing and resolving the challenges we face in relation to HIV. But moreover, the voice of youth is key to understanding and resolving most of the challenges we are facing in the world today. Your tenacity, your knowledge and your world view is needed, and deserve to be heard loudly in the corridors of power.”

                -Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador

“Ensuring that women and girls are empowered to protect themselves from HIV, to make decisions about their own health and to live free of violence, including violence related to their HIV status, will be crucial to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

                -Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director