News

    Eradicating Stigma and Gender Inequality Essential to Combat AIDS

    The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says eradicating stigma and gender inequality is essential to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS. The agency says HIV/AIDS thrives in communities that continue to discriminate against victims of the disease. Lisa Schlein reports from Red Cross headquarters in Geneva.

    New data shows that global HIV prevalence has leveled off. It finds about one half million fewer people were infected with HIV last year than was the case a decade ago.

    But, the numbers are still staggering. The latest United Nations report finds about 33 million people around the world live with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Every year, 2.5 million people are newly infected and more than two million die from the disease.

    Mukesh Kapila is the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Special Representative for HIV. In comments timed to coincide with World AIDS Day, he says the world is far from seeing the end of AIDS. He says prevention activities must be scaled up.

    He says HIV/AIDS thrives in communities where stigma against AIDS victims and gender inequalities exist.

    "We know, for example, that [in] a recent survey done in young people in Britain, South Africa, Kyrgyztan and Ethiopia, in the region of ... a quarter to one-half young people would not be friends with someone with HIV," said Dr. Kapila. "In other words, there is a great deal of ignorance, stigma and discrimination around the place. And, this is certainly a great fuel for the epidemic. Another factor is inequality, particularly gender inequality, because this leads to women increasingly bearing the burden of the epidemic."

    Dr. Kapila says stigma and discrimination against AIDS victims is breaking down in Africa. This for the unfortunate reason that in large parts of the continent, most families have been touched by HIV.

    But, in other parts of the world - in China, India, Southeast Asia, and in Europe - discrimination against people with HIV persists.

    Good treatment for HIV is available. But Dr. Kapila notes less than one-third of people who need treatment have access to it, and he says only 10 percent of vulnerable people around the world have reliable access to prevention technologies.

    "So, it is really a question of applying what we know, but doing it on a systematic and a grand enough scale and trying to overcome some of the bureaucratic obstacles, which means that the money is very often stuck in funds and bureaucratic arrangements," said Dr. Kapila. "And, all people and communities find it very, very difficult to navigate their way through very complex international systems to allow them to benefit from that. In the end, it is not cash that saves lives. You have to turn the cash into useful products and services."

    Dr. Kapila says no 'magic bullet' is available to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He says basic strategies remain the most effective way of preventing new infections. He says safe sex and condoms work best in saving lives.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora