Report: Females Suffer Higher Rates of HIV/AIDS in Zambia Than Males
A human rights report released earlier this week reveals that girls in Zambia are five times more likely to be infected with the HIV virus than their male counterparts as a result of widespread sexual abuse. Human Rights Watch (HRW) completed a 121-page report entitled “Suffering in Silence,” which describes how young girls who suffer from sexual abuse often experience it at the hands of guardians.
According to Human Rights Watch, the widespread sexual abuse of Zambian girls is fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as there is a dramatically higher prevalence among girls than boys. A recent report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) underscores the importance of empowering women to stem the AIDS crisis, citing certain cultural and social beliefs about women as contributing to their vulnerability in this epidemic. HRW reports that Africa is the only region in the world “where women and girls outnumber men and boys among persons living with AIDS. Zambia also has a large number of girls who have been orphaned as a result of the AIDS epidemic, and many of these girls are forced into prostitution.”
HRW blamed the Zambian police and authorities for being ineffective in enforcing laws against sexual abuse, and held them accountable for girls being hesitant to report abuses. The organization warned that if the Zambian government failed to address the issue it will have a negative impact in the fight against HIV and AIDS, calling for support networks for victims and better training of law enforcement officials.
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8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .