HIV/AIDS Efforts Among Women, Girls Gaining Momentum, But Journey ‘Far From Over’

“Global efforts to reach the ‘three zeros’ for women and girls — zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths — are gaining momentum,” Michelle Bachelet, executive director of U.N. Women, Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, and Jennifer Gatsi Mallet, executive director of the Namibia Women’s Health Network, write in an Inter Press Service opinion piece. “Much of the progress we have seen is underpinned by the work of women living with HIV,” they write, detailing some of the progress. “Despite these gains, our efforts for women and girls remain inadequate — a message amplified by women living with HIV from around the world in the new report ‘Women out loud,'” the authors state.

“According to the report, launched Tuesday by UNAIDS and U.N. Women, nearly two-thirds of pregnant women do not know their HIV status,” the authors write, noting, “In many settings, fear of violence and discrimination continue to play a major role in women’s reluctance to be tested for HIV or, if HIV-positive, to seek treatment.” They continue, “Clearly, our journey is far from over. Getting to zero will require accelerated action for women and girls in a number of key areas.” According to the authors, this includes equipping women and girls “with the knowledge and power to protect themselves from HIV and violence,” “comprehensive sexuality education,” “advocat[ing] for changes in laws, policies and practices,” and engaging men and boys “in this movement to engender a supportive environment at family, community and national levels” (12/11).