Africa Action Marks International Women’s Day with Focus on HIV/AIDS
By Africa Action
Women Still Bear Greatest Burden of HIV/AIDS in Africa and Globally; U.S. and International Policies Must Do More to Promote Health of Women & Girls.
Thursday, March 8, 2007 (Washington, DC) – Africa Action marks International Women’s Day with a recognition that the global HIV/AIDS crisis continues to take a disproportionate toll on the world’s women, and with a call to U.S. and international policymakers to do more to address the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS and other health challenges.
Nii Akuetteh, Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, “Increasingly, in Africa and globally, HIV/AIDS has a woman’s face. Not only are women more likely to be living with HIV/AIDS, they are also more likely to be the primary care givers for those who are HIV-positive. If we are to successfully fight this pandemic, we need to promote strategies that address the gender inequalities that leave women and girls most vulnerable.”
Africa Action notes that the most recent figures from the United Nations (UN) reveal an increase in the number of adult women living with HIV/AIDS in every region of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, for every ten adult men living with HIV, there are about 14 adult women who are living with the virus. Across all age groups, almost 60% of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. In some countries, like South Africa, young women aged 15—24 are up to four times more likely to contract HIV than their male counterparts.
Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Policy Analysis & Communications at Africa Action, said today, “Across the African continent and around the world, women are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and other poverty-related diseases. Greater efforts are needed to expand access to comprehensive health care, to ensure that women and girls are protected from HIV infection, and to guarantee that all women living with HIV/AIDS have access to life-prolonging treatment and care.”
Africa Action supports the Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act (PATHWAY Act), which is scheduled to be re-introduced in Congress in the coming days. This Act originated in the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), who is a Board member of Africa Action. The PATHWAY Act removes the current requirement that one-third of all international prevention funding be spent on abstinence-until-marriage programs. It also requires the President to develop a comprehensive and integrated HIV prevention strategy to address the vulnerabilities of women and girls in each country receiving U.S. assistance to combat HIV/AIDS.
Marie Clarke Brill, Director of Public Education & Mobilization at Africa Action, said today, “On International Women’s Day, as we honor the critical contributions made by women around the globe and in all areas of life, we must also remember and address the huge challenges women still face. HIV/AIDS is a deadly threat to women and girls across the world, and we stand together in demanding new efforts by our government and others to promote the health and well-being of women everywhere.”
Africa Action will shortly release an updated version of its fact sheet, “AIDS has a Woman’s Face”, looking at the impact of HIV/AIDS on women in Africa and the Diaspora, and advocating policy changes that can help turn the tide of this pandemic. It will be available today on the organization’s website at: