Opinion Piece Outlines Calls To Action To Help Young Women Impacted By HIV, Their Children

Devex: Opinion: Stop the exclusion — the double stigma facing HIV-affected women and girls
Lisa Bohmer, chair of the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS and senior program officer for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

“…In addition to being at the epicenter of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, young women … are subject to a multitude of broader disadvantages: gender inequality, poverty, violence, exclusion, and poor education. Their children are at greater risk of early childhood developmental delays. Yet their health and well-being, as well as those of their children, have been largely overlooked. This perpetuates a cycle of poverty and vulnerability, which is passed down across generations. Understanding the unique challenges in reaching this particularly vulnerable population — as well as the urgency required to do so — is essential. And there are several ways to help do this. … The [Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS] has outlined five calls to action necessary to reach adolescent HIV-positive mothers: 1. Decentralize resources and decision-making powers to communities, children, adolescents, and families. 2. Repeal laws and policies that exclude HIV-affected adolescent mothers and their children and make them more vulnerable. 3. Champion integrated, evidence-based national strategies for HIV-affected adolescent mothers and their children, as well as campaigns to build public support for their inclusion. 4. Support the participation of HIV-affected adolescent mothers in decision-making, accountability, and service delivery and support them as a movement. 5. Generate evidence on what integrated approaches work best for HIV-affected adolescent mothers and their children…” (12/13).