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Women Deliver 2013 Conference Starts Next Week

, by Reilly O'Neal

“Consider this: At the moment, HIV and maternal mortality are the two leading killers of women of reproductive age,” noted Serra Sippel and Zeda Rosenberg yesterday on HuffingtonPost.com. “In 2008 alone, HIV was responsible for 60,000 maternal deaths. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women account for nearly 75 percent of all HIV infections among people ages 15–24. We also know that women in areas with high rates of HIV have the greatest unmet need for contraception, posing dual risks for women in developing countries.”

As the president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity and the CEO of the International Partnership for Microbicides, respectively, Sippel and Rosenberg are working to change those statistics—and next week, they’re getting backup. More than 7,000 government leaders, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and advocates from 160 countries will gather from May 28–30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Women Deliver 2013, one of the largest conferences focusing on women and girls’ health and empowerment.

The 3rd Women Deliver conference aims to ramp up political commitment and investment of resources toward improved wellness for girls and women and universal access to reproductive health. As Sippel and Rosenberg observed, “building on progress requires our global health and policy discussions to embrace a central truth: maternal health, family planning and HIV are inherently linked and must be addressed collectively.”

With upwards of 120 concurrent sessions, plenaries, skills-building workshops, and forums, the conference will address progress and continued challenges in family planning, maternal health, gender equality, and violence against women, with “an overarching focus on why investments in girls and women must remain a global priority.”

Get a sneak peek at the conference with the online agenda (also available as a mobile app), or download the conference program as a PDF. Also see global HIV prevention organization AVAC’s helpful roadmap of HIV-related sessions.

Not packing your bags for Kuala Lumpur? Attend Women Deliver 2013 virtually and keep up with webcast plenaries, talks, and key sessions; download the full webcast schedule here.

Reilly O’Neal is a freelance writer and former editor of BETA.

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