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Charlize Theron Speaks Out at AIDS Conference: "We Value Some Lives More Than Others"

Charlize Theron Speaks Out at AIDS Conference: "We Value Some Lives More Than Others"

Today in "incredible women who are slaying everything" news: Charlize Theron continues to be a champion for those affected by AIDS and for basically all people everywhere, delivering a powerful speech at the 21st International AIDS Conference, held this week in her home country of South Africa.

In the address, she highlights the social issues — such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty — that have not only proved to be major setbacks in stopping the spread of AIDS but also cause turmoil on a global scale.

"I think it's time we face the truth about the unjust world we live in," she said. "The truth is we have every tool we need to prevent the spread of HIV...The real reason we haven't beaten this 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.”

Now that's powerful.

Theron also emphasized that while she's honored to be asked to speak about such an important cause, she's sad that the International AIDS Conference is even necessary at this point. Four more International AIDS conferences are planned between now and 2030 (the goal year for finally ending AIDS), she said, and these must truly be the last.

The actress explained that though the work of medical researchers, program implementors and donors is vital, the key to ending AIDS is mobilizing and empowering the next generation to push for social change. "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 [to] and empower them...they will end this epidemic."

Watch Theron's moving speech in its entirety below:

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Photo Credit: Getty Images