Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, is so committed to improving the health of the world's women that he's championing the creation of a powerful new women's agency at the global organization. 'For 20 years I've felt that the rights and needs of women in the U.N. system were largely unattended,' he says. 'They make up more than half of the world's population, but efforts to address their problems have been a travesty.'
Lewis hopes creating a women's agency will be on the agenda when the U.N. General Assembly opens in September. The agency, which would cost about $1 billion per year, would focus on women's rights, health, and security, with a large emphasis on HIV prevention, treatment, and support initiatives.