Giving Compass' Take:

• Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcukaat explains how marginalized women are neglected in HIV efforts and suffer for it.

• How can philanthropy help bring these women to the fore of international efforts? 

• Learn more about gender equality

Every four minutes, three young women become infected with HIV. They are clearly not enjoying their right to health, nor will they, until we are able to reverse the inequalities and discrimination that fuel HIV spread. Those whose health and future are currently least prioritized must become our focus, if we are to achieve the changes we seek.

Across communities and countries, imbalances in power relations, confining social norms, and the prevalence of gender-based violence and discrimination are resulting in large gaps in both prevention of HIV for women and girls and treatment of it. This is especially true for marginalized groups, who often face high levels of stigma and discrimination, such as women with disabilities, sex workers, women who inject drugs, and women in prison, with resulting increased difficulty in accessing health care, especially when more than one reason for discrimination applies. So, for example, pregnant women who inject drugs and are living with HIV face even greater difficulties in accessing services to prevent their infants from acquiring HIV infection than other women who are living with HIV.

Urgent steps to ending discriminatory laws against those at risk of HIV and creating an empowering and just legal environment have resulted in an unprecedented call to put women and girls at the center of the health system, with the Joint United Nations Statement on Ending Discrimination in Health Care Settings signed by UN Women and 11 partner agencies.

Read the source article about the women left behind in HIV prevention efforts by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcukaat United Nations Foundation.