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Charlize Theron: End AIDS epidemic by 2030

Charlize Theron: End AIDS epidemic by 2030

Charlize Theron has called on young people to help end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The 'Huntsman: Winter's War' actress took to the podium in Durban, South Africa to address the 21st International AIDS conference on Monday (18.07.16) evening and told those assembled there is something "terribly wrong" as despite having "every tool" needed to prevent the spread of HIV, millions are still diagnosed with the disease every year.

And Charlize - who is a United Nations Messenger of Peace - feels this is due to inequality within society.

She explained: "The real reason we haven't beaten the epidemic boils down to one simple fact: We value some lives more than others. We value men more than women. Straight love more than gay love. White skin more than black skin. The rich more than the poor. Adults more than adolescents.

"I know this because AIDS does not discriminate on its own. It has no biological preference for black bodies, for women's bodies, for gay bodies, for youth or for the poor. It doesn't single out the vulnerable, the oppressed, or the abused.

"We single out the vulnerable, the oppressed, and the abused. We ignore them. We let them suffer. And then, we leave them to die."

The 40-year-old actress - who has adopted children Jackson, five, and August, one - talked about GenEndIt, an initiative from her Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project foundation which calls on the younger generation to help shift social injustice when it comes to AIDS, homophobia, racism, the cycle of poverty and other issues.

She said: "If we are going to end AIDS, we must cure the disease in our hearts and minds first. And I believe young people are the ones to do it. Young people have always been drivers of social change. And this generation holds unique promise. This is the generation that is shattering taboos and redefining old notions of gender, sexuality, and racial justice.

"I believe the single most important thing each of us can do after we leave here is to connect with a young person. Listen, truly listen, to what she has to say. Give her a seat at the table. Let her be part of the conversation. And let's make sure our work reflects her input and her voice...If we support our young people, if we give them the confidence and the space to speak out against bigotry and injustice, and if we take the time to listen and empower them, they will end this epidemic."

Charlize ended her speech by revealing her dream of ending the problem by 2030.

She said: "Since the first International AIDS Conference in 1985, we have been counting up, all the way to 21. Now it's time for us to start counting down.

"We have set a goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030."