Against the backdrop of World AIDS Week, the Nike Foundation has launched a global effort with government partners to put adolescent girls in developing countries at the center of HIV-prevention strategies.

According to the Nike Foundation, every day, 6,000 young people ages 15 to 24 become infected with HIV. Two-thirds of these new cases are girls. Yet, although girls face the greatest risks, prevention strategies to date have not put them at the core. Girls who are most at risk are also the hardest to reach, as they are often isolated in marriage from a very young age, instead of being in school.

“This is an emergency. In Africa 75 percent of young people living with HIV are female, up from 62 percent in 2001,” said Lisa MacCallum, Managing Director of the Nike Foundation. “We keep avoiding the epicenter of the epidemic, and it's not working. The only way to halt the spread of HIV is to put girls at the center of HIV prevention by investing in comprehensive programs that address the combination of girls' education, health, safety and economic empowerment.”

On Dec. 3, the Nike Foundation, the United Nations Foundation and UNAIDS co-hosted “The Girl Effect: HIV/AIDS Prevention Starts with a Girl,” a private meeting in Dakar, Senegal attended by more than 100 ministers of health, business leaders, global NGOs and AIDS ambassadors. Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, gave the keynote address.

“We know that in many countries of Africa girls and young women are the most vulnerable to HIV infection. Strategies focused on them must be built directly into national responses to AIDS and attached to budget allocations substantial enough to take them to scale,” said Dr. Piot. “If we don't invest in girls now, the consequences will be dire for the entire next generation.”

Today in Nairobi, Kenya, the Nike Foundation joined 15 other corporate, foundation and NGO partners and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in launching the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation.

The Foundation will provide expertise in unleashing the girl effect-the power of adolescent girls in developing countries to bring unprecedented economic and social change to their families, communities and countries.


Investments in the girl effect will demonstrate the most effective combinations of girl-focused programs to keep girls free of HIV.

Prior to the launch event, eight girls participated in a roundtable discussion with key dignitaries to talk about their personal experiences and how they're working to stop the spread of HIV in their communities.

Four of the girls are participants in Binti Pamoja and TechnoServe's programs in Kenya-two Nike Foundation partners that are working to unleash the girl effect.

Binti Pamoja provides a safe space for adolescent girls to explore issues prevalent in their daily lives in Kibera, an urban slum in Nairobi that is home to one million people. The model is designed to grow virally, as graduates establish new safe spaces throughout Kibera.