Seeking Leaders for Global Change

Spotlight On: UNAIDS, a champion of women, girls and at-risk populations

Written by Mission Talent Team


Mission Talent is currently searching for the new Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa to join UNAIDS at an exciting time of change and transformation within the organisation. As part of our search process, we took some time to find out more about UNAIDS current work and vision.

UNAIDS champions the rights of girls and women and key populations—gay men, men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs, prisoners and other incarcerated people and migrants—to ensure that they can access the HIV services they need. Their motto is to “leave no one behind”.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNAIDS has called on governments to protect human rights and address gender-based violence and has made it clear that sexual and reproductive health services should be recognised as essential services. A new UNAIDS report shows how governments can confront the gendered and discriminatory impacts of COVID-19.

UNAIDS  leads the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Launched in 1996, it draws on the experience and expertise of 11 United Nations system Cosponsors and is the only United Nations entity with civil society represented on its governing body.  UNAIDS provides the strategic direction, advocacy, coordination and technical support needed to catalyse and connect leadership from governments, the private sector and communities to deliver life-saving HIV services. 

In 2014, UNAIDS launched the 90-90-90 initiative that is working to ensure that by 2020, 30 million people have access to treatment through meeting the 90–90–90 targets, whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads. In 2016, UNAIDS laid out Fast-Track commitments enshrined in the United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, to:

  • Reduce new HIV infections to fewer than 500 000 by 2020.
  • Reduce AIDS-related deaths to fewer than 500 000 by 2020.
  • Eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination by 2020.

It is expected that the next High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on HIV and AIDS will take place in 2021, and produce a new political direction that will guide the organisation. 

The key to UNAIDS success is working with communities and civil society, ensuring that communities are empowered to engage, own and direct HIV programmes and promote the full inclusion of civil society. This has extended the reach and reduced the costs of response. The UNAIDS Secretariat has offices in 70 countries, with 70% of its staff based in the field. 

Mission Talent Team