Anti-HIV Gel May Empower Women in the Fight Against AIDS
The FDA has put an anti-HIV vaginal gel called VivaGel on the fast track for approval. Women can apply the gel vaginally in the hours before intercourse to prevent HIV and genital herpes. If trials go smoothly, VivaGel may be commercially available as early as 2008, making it the first anti-HIV microbicide on the market.
After plateauing in the 1990s, US HIV infection rates are on the rise again, especially among African-American women. Part of the rising infection rates are due to the fact that women in the US still face pressure from male partners who do not want to wear condoms, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, United Press International reports. Because women can hide microbicide use from their partners, microbicides would provide a way for women to protect themselves “without bowing to male dictates,” said UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS Stephen Lewis in a speech adapted for Ms. magazine.
Once approved in the US, VivaGel could be made available internationally at an affordable price, says the NIH. Rates of infection in developing countries are disproportionately high among women. In South Africa, four times as many women as men under 24 are HIV-positive.
“[W]hen the landscape is so bleak,” said Lewis, “the prospect of a microbicide in five to 10 years is intoxicating.”
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .