News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Women at the frontline in the AIDS response

Women at the frontline in the AIDS response

Toronto, 14 August- Young women aged 15 to 24 are more than twice as likely to become infected with HIV as men said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”, at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto.

Speaking at a session entitled “Women at the frontline in the AIDS response,” Gates said that women are not only increasingly the face of HIV, they are also the caregivers and hence bear the brunt of the HIV burden. Yet in many societies, women have few rights and are caught in a social and cultural net of gender inequality that serves to drive the spread of HIV.

Panelists discussed the tragedy of rural women in India, who for the most part have only one sexual partner in their life – their husband. But when they become infected with HIV, the blame falls on them and they are either beaten or thrown out of the house.

For South African jazz artist and HIV activist, Musa “Queen” Njoko, women are the backbone of every society. They need to be empowered and must refuse to be victims. “Decisions need to be made by women and we need to put in place programmes to help develop women’s skills and enable them to become independent.”

Njoko added that she did not just mean micro-economic programmes, but programmes that would fulfill women’s interests and help build a future for them.

Similarly, Gates argued that addressing women’s empowerment and lifting them out of sex work, for instance, required dealing with a range of issues, such as supplying clean water so they would not have to walk long distances to fetch water every day.

Sex workers also needed safe places where they could come together and find out how to stay healthy, where to get condoms and where to get tested for HIV.

“Sex workers are part of society …” said Gates. “These are women who are working to provide a better future for their children, like any other women.” Gates stressed that enlisting sex workers in the fight against AIDS would help them protect themselves from infection and keep them from passing the virus along to others.

In another session on the second day of the conference, about 300 people met to discuss the topic, “Sex workers, HIV and human rights: What can be done?” From Mali, Angelica D. spoke of the regular police raids endured by sex workers and the ensuing violence and extortion for money or sex, all in the midst of regular condom supply shortages. An NGO working with these sex workers had negotiated a scheme with police in Mali’s capital Bamako that meant that sex workers carrying a card confirming their membership to that NGO would not be arrested.

 

In the Pacific Island countries and territories, a total of about 5,500 women are reported to be living with HIV or died of an AIDS related illness (2004 SPC estimates). However, the reported cases do not reflect the total disease burden as case numbers are influenced by access to testing, testing uptakes and notification rates.

The high levels of sexual and domestic abuse in the region as well as social norms that often do not empower women to make informed decisions or give them the tools to protect themselves from HIV & other STI transmission mean those women are very vulnerable to HIV. Furthermore, women who reveal their positive status risk more discrimination as they are often abandoned by their family or disinherited by their in-laws if their husband dies of an AIDS related complication.

Ends

 

 

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news