African Condom Shortage Crisis Amidst AIDS Pandemic
Due to inadequate aid efforts by the United States and other donor countries, acute shortages of condoms have been contributing the rapid rise in HIV/AIDS cases in Africa. Thoraya Obaid, the Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), asserts that if all the condoms available in Africa were to be distributed, every man would get only three condoms a year, reports The Standard.
For example, Uganda is facing a severe condom shortage. According to BBC News, the main supplier of condoms in Uganda, the state owned brand Engabu, has been banned and the procedure for approving new condom imports has been lengthened. In addition, free and subsidized condoms that were being distributed by the Ministry of Health are running out, reports Xinhua General News Service.
The coordinator for Uganda's state on condoms fears that they "are going to face six months of limited supply" and that "some people might have unprotected sex." Between 80-100 million condoms are used in Uganda each year; however, the government is left with only five million condoms for the next six months, reports Xinhau General News Service. AIDS, the spread of which can be prevented by condom use, is the leading cause of death for those aged 15-49 years in Uganda, reports UNAIDS.
While advocating for abstinence-only HIV/AIDS prevention policies instead of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, the Bush administration has withdrawn $34 million annually since July 2002 for the UNFPA, an international organization that has been providing contraceptives and reproductive health services to the poorest people in the developing world that are at the highest risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. In addition, the Bush Administrationís gag rule has been scaring organizations away from integrating reproductive health services with their HIV/AIDS programs for fear of losing funding, a strategy that many AIDS and womenís rights activists see as being a crucial component of the fight against AIDS.
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. . . .