South Africa/United States of America
As a Messenger of Peace, Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron focuses on the prevention of HIV and the elimination of violence against women. She founded The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) in 2007 with the mission to help African youth keep themselves safe from HIV. The Project supports community engaged organizations that use innovative and community specific programming to work with youth between the ages of 10-20 years old, bringing critical resources like access to youth friendly healthcare, sexual and reproductive health education, life skills, and psychosocial support – all of which empower young people to keep themselves and their peers HIV free.
Ms. Theron also filmed a series of public service announcements in support of the Cape Town Rape Crisis Center, urging zero tolerance for rape or domestic violence. Ms. Theron travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 and 2011 to help raise awareness about the plight of women and girls victims of sexual violence.
Focus Area: Prevention of HIV
Combating HIV/AIDS is one of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. Goal 6 aims to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. The spread of HIV has stabilized in most regions and more people are surviving longer. The number of people newly infected by HIV in 2010 was 2.7 million people, 390,000 of whom were children. At the end of 2010, an estimated 34 million were living with HIV, up 17 per cent from 2001. This persistent increase reflects the continued large number of new infections along with a significant expansion of access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy, especially in more recent years.
Mounting evidence shows a link between gender-based violence and HIV.
Elimination of violence against women
The United Nations continues to give particular attention to the issue of violence against women, including in armed conflict and through trafficking. This fundamental violation of women’s rights remains widespread, affecting all countries. The Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls by engaging individuals, civil society and governments. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is observed annually on 25 November.