This Mother's Day, we are reminded once again that mothers are the cornerstone of our communities. This is an important time to celebrate the exceptional women around the world who strive to keep families and communities together, and sacrifice to ensure the next generation has every opportunity to pursue its dreams.
As a mother, the recent abduction of more than 200 Nigerian girls strikes a particularly personal chord. My deepest thoughts and prayers are with these courageous girls and their families, and I am proud to stand in solidarity with all those around the world calling for their safe and swift recovery -- it is time to #BringBackOurGirls.
At the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) we never forget that, each year, hundreds of thousands of women are subjected to violence, trafficking, and other forms of discrimination and abuse. This also helps fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In fact, a woman who experiences gender-based violence is three times more likely to contract HIV. Globally, AIDS is still the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age, and women and girls represent 60 percent of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
PEPFAR is proud to support efforts to address HIV and related health needs of mothers, mothers to be, and their families. Whether through our investments to support the Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive, to deliver lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to more than four million women and girls, or to reduce maternal mortality through Saving Mothers, Giving Life, we are deeply committed to improving the health and prosperity of women and girls.