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Gender-based violence and HIV: addressing twin epidemics

By Hajjarah Nagadya

Hajjarah Nagadya is a young woman living with HIV and a mother of one. She is a member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV in Eastern Africa, as well as the UNAIDS Dialogue Platform for Women Living with HIV.

Governments, NGOs and activists are currently gathered in New York for the 58th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which I am attending as a representative of the Link Up project. As a young woman living with HIV, I want to make sure that the issues that really affect women living with HIV are addressed. Gender based violence (GBV) is a key driver of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 61% of people living with HIV are women. Women have become the face of HIV in the region, and GBV is a major factor fuelling this. Violence of all forms, particularly affecting vulnerable groups most at risk of the HIV epidemic  including young women, sex workers, and transgender women, must be addressed. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: CUBS Project Empowering Women in Nigeria

By Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Nigeria’s population of people living with HIV/AIDS accounts for about four million of a global total of 40 million, which makes it the nation with the second largest population of people living with HIV/AIDS after South Africa. As a result, many orphans have been left homeless, without any financial support for basic needs like education. With support from PEPFAR, USAID in partnership with Management Health Sciences (MHS) and Africare is implementing the Community-Based Support for OVC Project (CUBS). The project aims at improving the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in 11 Nigerian states by integrating a currently fragmented OVC service delivery system, mobilizing community support, and raising awareness of the issues and needs of OVCs. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Zambia and Uganda Reduce Maternal Mortality by One Third in One Year

by: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Maternal mortality is regarded as an indicator of the overall functioning of health systems. That’s to say that when women are to dying in pregnancy and childbirth, it’s crucial to look at how services are delivered. The year one evaluation of Saving Mothers, Giving Life reveals a significant reduction in number of women dying in pregnancy & childbirth due to the a focus on services delivered at these critical points: labor, delivery, and the first 48 hours postpartum. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Giving HIV-Positive Women in Cambodia a Fresh Start

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

According to a report from the joint UN AIDS & UN Women Asia Regional Technical Meeting on Responding to the Feminization of AIDS, the proportion of women living with HIV increased from 38% to 52% between 1997 and 2006. Since 2006, however, this trend has turned around. In 2011, women accounted for 44% of new HIV infections and this rate is expected to continue to decrease. Discrimination against women living with HIV is prevalent, particularly in rural areas where it is compounded by a lack of education around the epidemic. Read more...

Mind the Gap: Engaging Young Men and Boys in Getting to Zero

By: Remmy Shawa, Sonke Gender Justice and Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver; Originally posted by FHI 360

Throughout the session rooms of this 17th ICASA, it’s clear that gender inequality is a key driver of HIV in Africa. Gender-based violence, harmful practices against girls (like child marriage and female genital cutting) and violence against women in key affected populations all increase risk for HIV infection. In addition, HIV risk is closely connected to stigma, discrimination and blame for women, particularly women living with HIV and women who experience violence. But how can the HIV response encourage men to challenge gender inequality to get to Zero? Read more...

To Call It the End of AIDS is Too Premature, Says IPPF

Originally posted by IPPF

There are currently 35 million people living with HIV who will need treatment for the rest of their lives and with the introduction of the new WHO treatment guidelines in 2013, only 34% of the 26 million people currently eligible are actually receiving treatment.  In the midst of those figures and with funding in decline, statements about the end of AIDS falls nothing short of premature, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said ahead of World AIDS Day 2013. Read more...

World AIDS Day: Sexual Health an Uphill Struggle for Women in Rural Zimbabwe

By: Hazvinei Mwanaka, Key Correspondents

World AIDS Day is December 1st

Ester Lorence lives deep in rural Zimbabwe and when she was diagnosed with HIV she knew little about the disease. This story is not uncommon as many young women not only struggle to negotiate safer sex but often don’t even realise the risks they are taking.  Read more...

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2013

Today marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The 16 Days Campaign originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.  Read more...

Reaching Most Vulnerable Young People With Family Planning and HIV Services

By: David J. Olson, Global development communications expert; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Ethiopia -- where international advocates will open their biennial International Conference on Family Planning on Nov. 12 -- has succeeded in bringing down the unmet need for family planning from 36.6 percent of currently married women 15-49 in 2000 to 26.3 percent in 2011. But the unmet need is greatest among those aged 15 to 19. In that age range, almost one-third want contraception and cannot get it. Read more...

Communicating About Sexual Health with Young People: Lessons From Cats and Birds

By: Nina Benedicte Kouassi, Key Correspondents Network

There is a popular saying in many African countries that goes: curiosity killed the cat. It comes from the fable that the cat, out of curiosity, put his head in a pot full of water and died. When it comes to young people asking their parents questions about sex, they are often told: don’t you know curiosity killed the cat? In other words, they are supposed to just keep quiet and never ask this question anymore.In my work with orphans and vulnerable children, I have witnessed often how this proverb was applied. Matters related to sex are not discussed with adolescents out of fear it will encourage them into a sex life too early. Read more...

Post-2015 Development Framework: What’s In It For Young People?

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver, and Julie A. Cornell, Johnson & Johnson

On Thursday, September 26th a group of young activists from around the world gathered at the UN Church Center to discuss ways in which young people can contribute meaningfully to the post-2015 development framework, particularly related to HIV and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Each speaker underscored the importance of ensuring that young people have a seat at the table where global development decisions are made and a stake in the post-2015 development agenda.

Dr. Luiz Loures, Deputy Director of UNAIDS, opened the session by reminding the audience of a stark statistic: There are 1.8 billion young people around the world and 3 billion people under the age of 30. The majority of policy makers deciding the post-2015 framework will be far advanced in age, or indeed no long around, by the time most of these young people have matured into adulthood.

So where are the young people in this discussion about the future of development? Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Integration Improves HIV and Family Planning Efforts

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

In the largest evaluation of different methods of HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) integration to-date, results have shown clear success, particularly in Africa. The five-year project, called The Integra Initiative, is managed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Population Council and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Women in Zambia are Fighting Gender Discrimination and HIV Stigma

By: Constance Ngenda, Key Correspondents

Violence and discrimination against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions, but in Zambia one woman is taking on the challenge to change her community. Jamillar Katambo from Lusaka was widowed when her husband died of an AIDS-related illness. When Jamillar found out her HIV positive status a few years ago, she and a friend started running an orphanage with the support of the Muslim community where she lives. Read more...

A Former Sex Worker’s Story About Learning to Protect Her Sexual Health and Rights

By: James Kityo, The Key Correspondents Programme

The Key Correspondents Programme is covering the Women Deliver 2013 global conference live from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 28 – 30.

Former sex worker and single mother Rose lives in Bwaise on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital Kampala. These days Rose, 23, provides for her three children by working in a salon plaiting hair, a skill she acquired through training from the Uganda Youth Development Link drop in centre. Read more...

Christine Obuya’s Dream Job: Helping Mothers and Babies Affected by HIV

By: Sarah Nakimbowa, The Key Correspondents Programme

The Key Correspondents Programme is covering the Women Deliver 2013 global conference live from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 28 – 30.

Her name is Christine Obuya, but she is known as Pastor and she earned her nickname for her dedication to reducing the rate of HIV transmission from mothers to their children.

As a midwife at Iganga government hospital in Uganda, Obuya has seen firsthand the importance of integrating HIV with sexual and reproductive health services. And as an HIV activist Obuya, 63, has had a huge impact on women in her community, but it was almost a very different story. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: ‘Mentor Mothers’ Help to Curb Vertical Transmission of HIV

By Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

In the U.S. and Europe, the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child has been virtually eradicated.  Yet, worldwide approximately 900 children are newly infected with HIV every day; most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Without intervention, 40% of pregnant women living with HIV are likely to pass the virus to their babies, and each year more than 200,000 children will die from HIV and AIDS related illnesses.  While the establishment of programs to prevent transmission has grown in recent years, there is evidence to support the need for education and counseling to supplement medical intervention. And programs like mothers2mothers (m2m) are bridging the gap between services and support.  Read more...
 

Celebrate Solutions: Private Sector Provides HIV Testing

By: Harshi Hettige, Women Deliver

A study by SHOPS Project shows that the private sector plays a vital, although varied, role in addressing the HIV pandemic. There is less data on private health providers that offer HIV counselling and testing, however research reveals that this approach should be celebrated and taken advantage of as a solution. Doug Johnson and Xi Cheng conducted research in 18 developing countries and analysed data from 2005 to 2011. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Improving Lives with Job Training and Self-Help Groups

By: Rati Bishnoi, Catapult

In many parts of the world, women living with HIV face a high risk of falling into poverty: Stigma and fears about worker productivity can make it particularly difficult for women to find work and earn a livelihood. Sanmitra Trust, a non-governmental organization in Mumbai, India, is working to break these barriers and help women living with HIV, sex workers, and other marginalized women build better futures for themselves and their families. In addition to providing health, welfare and legal services, Sanmitra Trust (a Catapult and Global Fund for Women partner) helps women living with HIV develop financial strength by learning job and business skills and accessing financial services like bank accounts and loans. Read more...

World AIDS Day: A Global Reminder

By: Harshi Hettige

Every year on 1 December, we recognize World AIDS Day – a day to fight for 25 million who have died from HIV/AIDS between 1981 and 2007, and for the 33.3 million people infected with HIV around the world today. The pandemic is particularly signicant to youth–almost half of all new HIV infections in the world are among people under 25. Read more...

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

             

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign calls for an end to gender-based violence and appeals to governments to respond, protect, and prevent violence against women. Over the course of the 16 Days of Activism, which begins on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) and ends on Human Rights Day (December 10), Women Deliver will highlight 16 key leaders and updates about women's rights worldwide. When women survive, families, communities, and nations thrive. Read more...

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