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Following Bill Clinton's rousing speech at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico, singer Annie Lennox has made an passionate plea for those in power to use their influence to provide better healthcare access for pregnant women.

Lennox used the opportunity to speak to conference attendees – which included many world leaders and policy makers – and address the issue of access of young mothers to treatment to prevent the virus from being passed on to the next generation.

“I feel it is a right of women to be able to give birth safely, and when a woman is HIV positive the baby can obviously have the virus transmitted before being born,” said the singer, who was representing Oxfam at the event. “I think this is a fundamental human right for every woman to have access to treatment and health care, so this is something that I’m actually addressing and talking about while we are here.”

Lennox also added that complacency threatens to slow the fight against Aids, with over 1,000 South Africans dying of AIDS every day.

“People seem to think this problem has disappeared or they are unaware… generations have been wiped out,” she told the conference. “People need to focus on the real world. The feminism of AIDS has ramifications for our whole society. If we cease to respect the mother, we cease to be human and all mankind is in jeopardy. This is a ticking time bomb and it is criminal to let it continue.”

Lennox’s full speech to the XVII International AIDS Conference can be seen here.

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