zero discriminationToday, the World YWCA stands in solidarity with the millions of people around the world who face discrimination on a daily basis—in the home, in hospitals, in schools, on public transportation, in their work and many other social spaces.

On Zero Discrimination Day, we are particularly mindful of the 36.9 million people globally who are living with HIV, and the prejudice and stigma they experience. According to UNAIDS, there are 380,000 young women age 15 to 24 who are newly infected with HIV each year. In 2013, 60% of all young people infected with HIV were adolescent girls and young women.

We cannot stop this disease from spreading when young women and girls living with HIV face judgment when they seek testing, and prejudice when they seek treatment and support.

Today, we call on the global community to end to all forms of discrimination against those who are HIV positive. We stand in solidarity with the women, girls and adolescents who are living in silence with this disease because they are afraid to seek help.

In addition we renew our call for governments and service providers to create confidential, non-judgmental safe spaces where women and girls can discuss their Sexual and Reproductive Health and access services without fear of discrimination. And we applaud those young women who have had the courage to speak out about their experience with HIV and become agents for change.

On Zero Discrimination Day, let’s commit to a lifestyle where discrimination is no longer socially acceptable—so that it’s not just a day to remember, but a normal way of life for us all.

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