Women for Positive Action has launched a practical and educational tool to empower women living with HIV to deal with the challenges of stigma and discrimination as a way to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) to be celebrated March 8, 2012.
According to research, more than 3,000 women and girls contract HIV each day and the latest global estimate of women living with HIV (WLWH) in 2009 was approximately 17 million. Women make up about 50% of HIV cases and a higher proportion of new diagnoses compared with men. The share of HIV infection among women is increasing in several countries. For instance, young women — aged 15-24years — in sub-Saharan Africa are eight times more likely than men to be diagnosed with HIV.
By developing this tool, Women for Positive Action hopes to enable women access the right support and care to achieve better outcomes for themselves and their families. Designed for use in both the community and clinical settings, the tool will provide examples of the ways in which women living with HIV can be supported to combat stigma and discrimination. Additionally, the tool will discuss disclosure of HIV status and suggest ways to support women who wish to take this step. The tool is available for download at their website.
According to Annette Piech — a member of the German Therapy Activists Network DCAB HIV and the European AIDS Treatment Group — disclosure of HIV status can have positive benefits for an individual, their family and the community by reducing depression and anxiety and encouraging access to HIV support and care services.
“Disclosure is not a decision which should be taken lightly. It is a process which should only be undertaken when the woman feels fully supported and when it becomes appropriate at the various stages of life,” explains Annette Piech.
Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. The theme for the 2012 International Women’s Day is ‘Connecting Girls, and Inspiring Futures’.