UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé with singer and activist Annie Lennox launched the “Agenda for Accelerated Country Action for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV” at the United Nations during its 54th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The timeframe of the plan is from January 2010 to December 2014. It seeks to link on a global scale the HIV/AIDS movement with the women's rights movement, starting with UNAIDS and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The plan was launched at a U.N. panel discussion of about 300 representatives from governments, civil society, networks of women living with HIV and women's rights advocates.

“The brutality faced by many women and girls goes far beyond social policy issues. In essence it is about equality and justice—it must become a foreign policy issue,” said Sidibé. “This ‘Agenda for Accelerated Country Action' for women and girls is a path to open dialogue with leaders of countries on how we shape the world of tomorrow.”

HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionately affect women and girls around the world. AIDS is now the leading cause of death worldwide for women of reproductive age.

Lennox, who has been a longtime advocate for AIDS issues and women's rights, said: “I'm using my voice to call on leaders—in political, religious and business spheres—and communities to change the power imbalances between men and women for a better world.”