Countries To Strengthen HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts Among Women

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Global HIV prevention programs that urge women to take a leadingrole must be increased to effectively combat the spread of the virus,U.N. officials said Thursday at the first International Women's Summit on Women's Leadership and HIV and AIDS in Nairobi, Kenya, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 7/5).

The conference, organized by the World YWCA,is being attended by more than 1,500 AIDS advocates, celebrities,community health workers, global leaders and policymakers. The summitaims to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls and willexamine issues such as violence against women, poverty and children'srights, and access to resources. The summit is co-convened by the International Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS and has support from UNAIDS' Global Coalition on Women and AIDS and the United Nations Population Fund (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/7).

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Speaking at the conference, UNAIDSExecutive Director Peter Piot said that HIV prevention efforts are notkeeping pace with the gains being made in treating HIV-positive people."We have made tremendous progress in recent years, but it is vital thatleaders, and especially women, continue to prioritize AIDS -- not justnow but over the long term," Piot said (Xinhua News Agency,7/5). Piot called on donors and governments to increase investment infemale-initiated HIV prevention programs, including access to femalecondoms and microbicide development. "We need to do better in terms ofaction that is relevant for women," Piot said (Wafula, Nation/AllAfrica.com,7/6). He added, "As an optimist, I am a firm believer that catastrophesalso offer opportunities. So let's turn the paradigm upside down andmake sure that the response to AIDS leverages a fatal blow to thedisempowerment of women" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/5).

Chan, Kenyan President Comments

In order to achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment,care and support, "[w]omen must be in the driver's seat," World Health OrganizationDirector-General Margaret Chan said at the conference. Chan said thatgender inequality, intimate partner violence and poverty are among thefactors fueling the HIV/AIDS pandemic (Xinhua/China Daily,7/6). "We must ... seize every opportunity for women to learn theirinfection status," Chan said, adding, "Women can turn the tide on thisepidemic. Women are best placed to make existing tools work" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/5).

Recentdata shows that women comprise up to 48% of all HIV cases. Insub-Saharan Africa, 60% of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are womenand among youths in the region, three out of four living with thedisease are female, Xinhua News Agency reports. "Thesefacts testify to the challenging reality that must be addressed,"Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said at the conference, adding, "They alsoremind us that much more work needs to be done in empowering women andgirls to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS." Kibaki called ongovernments to address the challenges that downgrade women to asubordinate status and hinder their ability to fight HIV/AIDS (Xinhua News Agency, 7/5).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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