HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa Hindered by Cultural Repression of Women
Interview by Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus.
At the U.N. Summit on AIDS held in June, delegates pointed out that the oppression of women is perhaps the key factor in the spread of the pandemic. Until women have personal and economic power to combat sexual exploitation, experts say progress in containing the spread of HIV and AIDS will be greatly hindered. In subSaharan Africa, where 70 percent of all HIV-positive individuals live and die, women comprise a rising percentage of the total affected. Millions of babies in Africa are born with the disease each year, where care almost is non-existent. In some African countries, the infection rate among teenage women is twice that of males of the same age.
The Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance, or GAIA, is one organization that is working to reduce the number of women and children exposed to HIV/AIDS. Based in San Francisco, its nurses, physicians and epidemiologists work through religious and interfaith organizations to promote HIV prevention strategies in developing countries. Its initial focus is sub-Saharan Africa.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with GAIA's founder and president, Bill Rankin, about his organization's work and the challenges posed by cultural and social discrimination against women(A RealAudio Version of this interview may be found At http://www.btlonline.org) .
To contact The Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance, call (415) 461-7196 or visit their Web site at www.thegaia.org
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