Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In Honor of World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day.

Around the world, women continue to be denied their basic human rights: violence against women, poverty, lack of access to education and basic health care services. This denial makes women more susceptible to HIV/AIDS.

A few weeks ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a landmark study which identifies "AIDS-related illnesses as the leading cause of death and disease among women of reproductive age in low and middle income countries, particularly in [Sub-Saharan] Africa."

The report also stated that around the world, unsafe sex is the single leading risk factor contributing to deaths among women of reproductive age.

Women make up approximately half of all people living with HIV worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up an estimated 57% of adults living with HIV, and three quarters of young people living with disease there are young women aged 15-24.

The US, the largest funder to global health programs, has a $48 billion dollar AIDS initiative called PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) which notoriously promotes the ABC (abstinence, be faithful, and as a last resort use condoms) prevention program in Africa.

This has widely been proven to be an ineffective strategy in preventing HIV/AIDS transmissions. It is harmful and simply does not work. The ABC program places condom distribution and usage, which is the most effective barrier method against the disease, at a low priority.

Moreover, to change US policies which needlessly harm women and girls around the world, we must take action!

Here is what you can do:
  • Raise awareness on the emphasis of ineffective abstinence and fidelity prevention programs in PEPFAR.
  • Educate your campus about its harmful impact on young women.
  • Demand that the US change its policy to promote safe sex practices, access to comprehensive reproductive health and rights services, and sex education.
Take Action on World AIDS Day, and every day, to save women's lives around the world.

1 comment:

Danine said...

Great post! I linked to it in my blog post here Every Day Should Be World AIDS Day