Call to Action on World AIDS Day 2009

Article Date

01 December 2009

Article Author

By ICRW Communications Staff

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) urges the global community to improve efforts that coordinate HIV prevention and treatment programs with other services for women, such as family planning, reproductive and maternal health services.

“We must comprehensively address the complex economic and social inequalities that underlie women’s vulnerability to infection,” said Sarah Degnan Kambou, ICRW’s chief operating officer.

The world’s women remain highly vulnerable to HIV infection, according to UNAIDS 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update. They continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for 71 percent of all new HIV infections in 2008. In Asia, the number of women living with HIV nearly doubled from 19 percent in 2000 to 35 percent last year. And women account for about half of all HIV infections in the Caribbean.

“One way women would be better able to protect themselves is if more HIV prevention programs were integrated into existing health and social services and the reach and quality of those services were improved,” explained Katherine Fritz, ICRW’s director for gender and HIV. “It’s critical for such efforts to also include effective screening, treatment and referral services for women affected by violence.”