World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Some African Traditions Influence Spread Of AIDS

Some African cultural traditions influence spread of AIDS - UN report

9 June 2008 - Cultural factors in Africa, including gender inequalities, wife inheritance and some sexual practices, need to change and be better understood if the fight against HIV/AIDS is to be more effective, according to a new United Nations report.

The report, issued today by the UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa (CHGA), calls for serious "discussion and action" on cultural issues which many societies find uncomfortable and challenging, but which determine the spread of HIV and undermine the effectiveness of national responses to the epidemic.

As an example, the report cites the fact that married women are at a high risk of contracting HIV when cultural norms condone male promiscuity or patriarchal control of the married couple's sexual activities. In many African cultures, the report says, widows have very limited legal rights to claim their family property.

After the report was presented to him today in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon backed its call for action.

"We must learn better to grasp how cultural norms and attitudes increase the risk of infection. It is why we must enforce laws to eliminate violence against women and girls and take action to improve the lives of AIDS orphans," he said.

Today's report also argues that while some cultural norms and practices can fuel HIV transmission, others can have a positive impact. "For example", it says, "male circumcision, which has been practiced for centuries in some cultures and communities, has been found to decrease the risk of HIV transmission in men.

Challenging another assumption, the report finds that although polygamy has been thought to be one of the major factors promoting the spread of HIV in Africa, the evidence supporting this notion was inconsistent. In Ghana, for instance, the prevalence of HIV infection was lowest in the north, where 44 percent of marriages are polygamous.

In a related development, the UN-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria today announced that its programmes have helped 1.75 million people living with HIV receive lifesaving antiretroviral treatment - up by 59 per cent since last year.

"We are halfway to 2015, which is the year the United Nations has set to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "So far, we are far behind the targets in reducing the mortality from AIDS, TB and malaria, but the results coming in over the past years give hope that we can still catch up and reach the targets if we continue to scale up investments," he added.

The results were released to coincide with the General Assembly's High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, which is starting in New York tomorrow.

In further remarks today, Mr. Ban said that the global community had risen to the occasion in response to the AIDS pandemic in African countries.

"We have seen an international movement towards universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support," he said.

In addition, the Global Fund reported that it has funded treatment for more than 3.9 million people who have contracted tuberculosis, which causes up to one third of AIDS deaths worldwide each year.

The Fund has also delivered 59 million insecticide-treated bed nets to families at risk of malaria.

ENDS

Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: