DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Women & HIV/AIDS

AIDS 2006
16th International AIDS Conference
Time to Deliver

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Women and HIV: The promise of microbicides
Randy Sheppard, CBC News Online
According to the World Health Organization, women account for nearly 70 per cent of HIV-AIDS cases worldwide.

When most people think about AIDS, they see it primarily as a problem of the gay community or of those who share needles. And they wouldn't be wrong.

But over the past half-dozen or so years, the face of AIDS in Canada and the United States has begun to change quite dramatically. More and more of those acquiring the disease turn out to be young heterosexual women, infected by their partners. Read More

How you can participate online (free) in the 25th International AIDS Conference - Aug. 13 to 18, 2006

In preparation for the 25th International AIDS Conference taking place in Toronto from Aug. 13 - 18th, 2006, (and to help inform both myself as a conference delegate and other DAWN members) we've assembled some information on Women and HIV/AIDS (see below) from the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC).

Please note that portions of the AIDS 2006 Conference will be available for viewing on the Internet at no cost and with no registration... Webcasts and transcripts, along with additional coverage, will be accessible at a later date. You can now sign up now to receive a daily update email during the week of the conference, providing summaries of each day's developments and direct access to all of the online coverage. Sign up at www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.

For those of you living in or near the Greater Toronto Area, please note that there are a number of women's events that will be held in the Global Village at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. These are open to the general public (free of charge) as well as to conference delegates.

Here is the link to the Programme available online: www.aids2006.org/PAG/ProgrammeAtAGlance.aspx. Any event marked with GV as the venue is scheduled to take place in the Global Village and does not require a conference badge to attend. As an example, here are 2 events scheduled at the Global Village (which I am anxious to attend):

1. An interactive session hosted by Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

Where's the Money for Women's Rights and HIV/AIDS?
AWID will share its 'hot off the press' research on resources for women's rights organizations and HIV/AIDS. Come share and learn if women are being short-changed and become part of the strategies to mobilize more resources for women's rights. For more info, contact awid@awid.org.

When: Sun. Aug. 13, 2006 from 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Where: Global Village, Main Stage, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
2. Hosted by the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) and AWID:
In Her Own Words: Violations of Women's Human Rights and HIV
Moderated by Charlayne Hunter-Gault (CNN-Johannesburg)
This panel will expose rights violations that have led to the growing number of women who are now living with HIV, calling for greater respect and promotion of women's rights within the HIV/AIDS response. Panelists from different parts of the world -- HIV+ women activists and policy analysts -- will identify where appropriate policy or program interventions might have made the difference in terms of HIV status, treatment and community response. For more info, contact Cami Hilsendager at chilsendager@iwhc.org.When: Mon. Aug. 14, 2006 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Where: Global Village, Main Stage, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Women and HIV/AIDS: Select Facts

Women are increasingly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. 
Young people, especially young women, are disproportionately at risk.
Women and girls do not have access to comprehensive information and services.
The biggest HIV/AIDS risk for many women and girls is marriage.
Sexual coercion and violence lead to a greater chance of infection. Read More

With Women Worldwide: A Compact to End HIV/AIDS

Outlines priority actions for making global HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care strategies work for women. Developed by a group of women advocates for use in 2006 negotiations on HIV/AIDS and beyond. ... Read More

Women and HIV/AIDS: Women's Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS: An Overview

The Context: Women's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS Worldwide
In January 2002, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that for the first time, women represented half of HIV-positive individuals worldwide, and more than half in sub-Saharan Africa, the region of the world hit hardest by the epidemic. HIV/AIDS had become a generalized epidemic in many African countries, moving from high-risk groups such as sex workers and injection drug users to the general population, largely because of pervasive gender inequality. The combination of social and political inequalities and severe poverty is lethal to women in the developing world, rendering them disproportionately vulnerable to the virus. ... Read more

The Commitment: Addressing Women's Realities
Despite women's disproportionate vulnerability, few programs aimed at curbing the pandemic's spread target them or reflect the realities of their lives. If we want to stop HIV/AIDS—in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America, in Eastern Europe, and in Canada and the United States — we must do two things: ... Read more

Colleagues: Empowering Women on the Ground
IWHC's colleagues worldwide are providing young people with the information, skills, and strategies to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, and advocating for policies that mandate the gender-sensitive comprehensive sexuality education that will enable future generations to reach adulthood in good health. They are also working to erode the gender inequalities that fuel the epidemic's spread by advocating for women's sexual and reproductive rights and focusing attention on the realities of women's lives. For example: ... Read more


ATHENA: Advancing Gender Equity and Human Rights in the Global Response to HIV/AIDS

As the world enters the third decade of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, women — especially the young and the poor — are increasingly affected. Because gender inequity fuels HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS fuels gender inequity, it is imperative that women and girls speak out, set priorities for action, and lead the global response to the crisis. The ATHENA Network was created to realize this imperative.

ATHENA strives to bridge the communities around the world that are addressing gender, human rights, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS. Further, ATHENA promotes the leadership and participation of women and girls, especially those living with HIV/AIDS, as central to the global response. Through these efforts, we are guided by four central mandates for our collective work – the indivisibility and intersectionality of issues and experiences; the need for independence and integrity; the inclusion of grassroots and indigenous groups; and the importance of intergenerational exchange, new voices, and the involvement of youth. Read More

A Dose of Reality: Women's Rights in the Fight against HIV/AIDS

The global HIV/AIDS pandemic is taking a catastrophic toll on women and girls. The number of HIV infections among women and girls has risen in every region in recent years, and in sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls constitute nearly 60 percent of those living with HIV. In some countries, the HIV infection rates for girls are many times higher than for boys. The rising number of HIV infections among women and girls is directly related to violence against women and their unequal legal, economic, and social status.

Abuses of women's and girls' human rights impede their access to HIV/AIDS information and services, including testing and treatment. Those who do obtain HIV services sometimes face disclosure of their confidential HIV test results by public health officials without the women's consent. This heightens women's risk of being ostracized by their communities and abused by their intimate partners.

Governments around the world have done far too little to combat the entrenched, chronic abuses of women's and girls' human rights that put them at risk of HIV. Misguided HIV/AIDS programs and policies, such as those emphasizing abstinence until marriage, ignore the brutal realities many women and girls face. By failing to enact and effectively enforce laws on domestic violence, marital rape, women's equal property rights, and sexual abuse of girls, and by tolerating customs and traditions that subordinate women, governments are enabling HIV/AIDS to continue claiming the lives of women and girls. Read More

Women and HIV/AIDS: The Barcelona Bill of Rights

As we enter the third decade of HIV/AIDS, women, especially the young and the poor, are the most affected. Because gender inequality fuels the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it is imperative that women and girls speak out, set priorities for action and lead the global response to the crisis. Therefore, women and girls from around the world unite and urge all governments, organizations, agencies, donors, communities and individuals to make our rights a reality. Read More

Remarks by Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa to High-Level Panel on U.N. Reform in Geneva

There is a crying need for an international agency for women. Every stitch of evidence we have, right across the entire spectrum of gender inequality suggests the urgent need for a multilateral agency. The great dreams of the international conferences in Vienna, Cairo and Beijing have never come to pass. It matters not the issue: whether it's levels of sexual violence, or HIV/AIDS, or maternal mortality, or armed conflict, or economic empowerment, or parliamentary representation, women are in terrible trouble. And things are getting no better. Read More


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