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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-06-00

Women Are Casualties of World's Early Indifference Towards AIDS Epidemic in Africa

According to a Washington Post report, global organizations and national governments ignored the warnings of an imminent AIDS plague in Africa. Despite the World Health Organization's warnings that tens of millions would be infected with the HIV virus by 2000, the Washington Post charges that the US Congress, global organizations, and foreign capitals resisted funding resources that could have prevented the health crisis in Africa. "If this would have happened in the Balkans, or in Eastern Europe, or in Mexico, with white people, the reaction would have been different," remarked Peter Piot, executive director for the UN Program on HIV/AIDS.

Women in Africa suffer the brunt of the AIDS epidemic. For example, hundreds of women during the pre-election violence in Zimbabwe were raped and infected with the disease, which will undoubtedly worsen the exploding pandemic. Patriarchal values place taboos on the usage of contraceptives, and women who defy the norms are frequently shunned. The infection rate in the sub-Saharan region is 20 percent higher among women than men. The AIDS epidemic has also orphaned more than 13 million children.

Media Resources: Washington Post 5 July 2000, The Independent (Lond


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