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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs