You have to watch Charlize Theron's hard-hitting speech at the International AIDS conference

2016-07-19 07:58
Charlize Theron

Cape Town – Charlize Theron is in Durban for the International AIDS conference and gave a powerful speech at the opening ceremony of the conference on Monday.

The South African born beauty addressed the crowd and millions watching with a heavy heart. She started off by saying: "This is the second time my home country of South Africa has hosted. That's not an honour. That's not something we should be proud of.

"We shouldn't have had to host this conference again."

And while she acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the community, Charlize had to admit that there are still too many people suffering from this disease.

"Please understand that I don’t mean to insult anyone here or belittle the extraordinary work that has  been done by this amazing community...

"But I think it is time that we acknowledge that something is terribly wrong."

The 40-year-old went on to highlight that the world has "every tool we need to prevent the spread of HIV" but yet people, including a large majority of children are still getting infected.

This is when the Mad Max actress unashamedly points out that there is a huge problem that isn’t being resolved.

"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 and adults more than adolescents."

Charlize continued: "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 youths or the poor.

"It doesn’t single out the vulnerable, the oppressed or the abused. We single out the vulnerable, the oppressed and the abused."

The star then took the opportunity to call on the youth of society to be part of what her foundation, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, is calling "GenEndIt".

“My foundation CTOP and many of our colleagues are calling on today’s youth to be the generation that ends this epidemic. To be GenEndIt!”

She also clarifies what "it" is that has to end. 

"It is the culture that condones rape and shames victims into silence, It is the cycle of poverty and violence that traps girls into teen marriages and forces them to sell their bodies to provide for their families. It is the racism that allows the white and the wealthy to exploit the black and the poor and then blame them for their own suffering.

"It is the homophobia that shames and isolates the LGBT youths and keeps them from life saving healthcare and education."

Charlize concludes with a pledge: "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."

Watch Charlize’s full speech here:

Charlize as a UN Messenger of Peace is joined by singer Elton John, Prince Harry and many  researchers, activists and policy makers at the global AIDS conference in South Africa this week to debate ways to better treat and prevent the disease.

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