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First Lady Michelle Obama urged both female and male South African youth to advance women’s rights and to stand up against violence against women. Mrs. Obama’s official trip to Africa has focused on addressing health, wellness and women’s rights.

“You can be the generation that stands up and says that violence against women in any form, in any place, including the home – especially the home – that isn’t just a women’s rights violation. It’s a human rights violation,” Mrs. Obama said passionately.

She also encouraged the youth to be the generation that ends HIV/AIDS, which she stressed is “fully preventable and treatable.” Gender-based violence (GBV) is a noted cause of HIV/AIDS infections in women in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, a key component of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) focused on the elimination of violence against women and girls as key in containing the epidemic.

According to UNAIDS, women and girls who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who have not. Increasingly, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has included GBV programming to address this tragic correlation.

As Mrs. Obama’s trip has highlighted thus far, including youth in the movement to end violence against women and girls is imperative to saving not only their generation but also future generations. Violence, like HIV/AIDS, is treatable, but more importantly, it is preventable!

Send your thanks to the First Lady today and ask the Administration to support funding for international programs to end violence against women and girls.

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Global Prevention, Policy & Advocacy, Women & Girls