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Celebrate Solutions: Increasing Access to HIV Medicine with Bicycles

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

When Sizwe Nzima was a high school student in Cape Town, South Africa, he would pick up his grandparents’ HIV medications because they had difficulty getting to the clinic themselves. There were long lines and Mzima usually had to wait several hours and make multiple trips to the clinic to get the medicine. He even tried to bribe the pharmacists to speed up the process, but it didn’t work. This sparked an idea: an HIV medication delivery service.

Nzima did some research on the topic. He found that although some companies were delivering medicine to people’s homes, no one was servicing the city’s low-income neighborhoods – where unemployment is high and most people in makeshift homes. Nzima contacted the companies to find out why and was told that it wasn’t because the companies were not interested in working in these townships, but because they could not find the houses. Read more...

It Takes Two Campaign Participates in Flash Mob in Uganda

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

To commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1, the It Takes Two campaign joined Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) to organize a flash mob to increase awareness about safe sex practices. Together with Kyuka Youth Outreach – a community-based youth organization that uses dance and creative arts to reach young people with important messages – the Dancing to a Safer Sex Flash Mob Activation sought to empower Ugandan youth with information to help them make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Read more...

World AIDS Day: Business Unusual: Time to End the AIDS Epidemic

A statement from the independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health; Originally posted by WHO

1 DECEMBER 2014 | GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Thirty years ago AIDS stole into our lives silently and ruthlessly decimating families as households incomes plummeted even as expenditures shot up and breadwinners succumbed to the collapse of their immune systems. As every sector in the economy was hit by mass morbidity and mortality resulting in absenteeism and lost productivity; food production fell, children lost teachers, health facilities lost their staff, and mining, manufacturing and service delivery deteriorated. Read more...

Why Sexual Rights Are Important

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Chukwudera Bridget Okeke, Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)

My project, the Concern Women International Development Initiative, seeks to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS among female sex workers (FSW) and their clients in Benue State Nigeria. To do this, we trained FSWs to be peer educators, conducted interpersonal communication capacity-building to reach clients of FSW and non-brother-based FSW, held sensitization workshops on FSW-friendly services for 10 private providers, and translated informational and educational materials on HIV and STIs into local dialects. Read more...

Deaths and Infections from HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Plummet Globally

Originally posted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

New HIV infections dropped by almost one-third from the epidemic peak; TB deaths declined by 3.7% between 2000 and 2013; child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have dropped 31.5% in the past decade. Despite major progress, the quality of programs to treat HIV varies widely.

PRESS RELEASE: SEATTLE—Today, fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, according to a new, first-of-its-kind analysis of trend data from 188 countries. The pace of decline in deaths and infections has accelerated since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established to stop the spread of these diseases by 2015. Read more...

Maasai Lead Way to Ending Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya

By: Sidi Sarro, Key Correspondents

On 22 July, the UK is hosting the first-ever Girl Summit, which aims to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. Sidi Sarro reports on how Kenya’s Maasai community are embracing alternative rites of passage for their girls.

Dressed in colourful kangas (traditional wrappers) and adorned in brightly-coloured beads and a headdress, 13 year old Naserian steps out to receive her certificate. She is one of many Maasai girls who are undergoing a symbolic ceremony which ushers them into womanhood. The air is filled with festivities and there is a distinct aroma of roasting meat. Read more...

Campus-Based Initiative Delivers SRH Information and Services to University Students in Nigeria

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Ajidagba Emman Babatunde (Tunde), Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

Every year in my home country of Nigeria, there are 6.8 million pregnancies. Approximately one in five of them are unintended. There are 3.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 60% of new infections occur among young people ages 15 to 24. One reason for these staggering numbers is the low level of contraceptive use among young people, who encounter socio-cultural barriers that prevent them from accessing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Having worked for over 10 years in the field of young adults’ sexual and reproductive health, I have seen firsthand the challenges that young people, particularly those in university settings, confront. They include engaging in risky behaviors like having transactional sex, unprotected sex, and sex with multiple partners, as well as facing the threat of sexual violence. Read more...

The Power of Peer-Education in Preventing HIV/AIDS among Female Sex Workers

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Chukwudera Bridget Okeke, Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)

My project in Nigeria’s Benue State aims to make real change in the lives of female sex workers (FSW) and their clients by enhancing their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and empowering them to negotiate safer sex with their clients. In Benue State, female workers account for just 1% of the population but make up 23% of new HIV infections. I strongly believe that knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including HIV/AIDS, among female sex workers will go a long way in creating positive behavior change and, in turn, will reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. Read more...

IPM Receives Worldwide Rights to HIV Prevention Medicine

Expanded public-private collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson will speed development and global distribution of dapivirine-based HIV prevention tools for women

The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) announced today that it has received exclusive worldwide rights to a promising HIV prevention medicine called dapivirine from Janssen R&D Ireland, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The agreement expands on IPM’s existing rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize dapivirine-based products for use by women in developing countries and will now give women in developed countries access to products containing dapivirine, such as a vaginal ring that combines dapivirine and a contraceptive. Read more...

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...

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