Many World AIDS Day observances around the world today have focused on the need to protect women and girls from HIV who are contracting the virus at an alarming rate. Peter Piot, the head of UNAIDS, said, “Today the face of AIDS is increasingly young and female. We will not be able to stop this epidemic unless we put women at the heart of the response to AIDS,” reports the Associated Press.
Approximately 39.4 million people are infected with HIV around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 25.4 million people are infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa itself, of which approximately 60 percent are women. According to Reuters, in the Pacific state of Papua New Guinea where multiple wives are common, the number of cases is expected to soar from 67,000 to 1.5 million by 2015-2020 threatening to wipe out a whole generation. In Botswana, where married girls are more vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS from their husbands than single women due to their lack power to negotiate the use of condoms or to abstain from sex within marriage, the President of Botswana called on the people to “Abstain or Die” rather than urge for a balance of power within marriage and the eradication of gender discrimination.
In the United States, women now make up 27 percent of the newly diagnosed AIDS cases, which is four times more than the proportion they made up in 1985, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. African-American women account for 67 percent of the new HIV infections amongst women. The leading cause of death among African-American women ages 25-34 is HIV/AIDS, and it is the sixth leading cause of death for women overall, Kaiser reports.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defundÂ Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).Â Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell asÂ out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of twoÂ heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .