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August-07-00

HIV/AIDS Strikes Women First

As a result of economic inequity, persistent discrimination, and unequal healthcare access, women are the most vulnerable to HIV infection, according to the latest UNAids report. Women in sub-Saharan Africa, who constitute 55 percent of the HIV infections, continue to struggle for access to contraceptives and education and for freedom from sexual assault, rape, and violence. In an open letter to South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki prior to the 13th International Aids Conference, a group of women’s organizations called on Mbeki to act decisively on the gender-specific concerns of women in the epidemic. The letter argued that gender inequality is the key obstacle to AIDS prevention, noting that the number of women’s HIV infection is skyrocketing in countries where women’s sexual and reproductive rights are violated.

Media Resources: The Mail and Guardian (South Africa) (http://www.m

   

     

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