International Womens Day!

The 8th March is a day when women throughout the world come together and celebrate life as women, the progress made to advance equality for women and to assess the challenges that remain.

UN Women, in collaboration with UNAIDS, have created a comprehensive online resource to provide up-to-date information on the gender equality dimensions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The site aims to promote understanding, knowledge sharing, and action on HIV/AIDS as a gender and human rights issue.

While HIV/AIDS is a health issue, the epidemic is a gender issue. Statistics prove that both the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS are not random. HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects women and adolescent girls who are socially, culturally, biologically, and economically more vulnerable.

The figures are alarming: At the end of 2009, slightly more than half of the estimated 33.3  million adults (aged 15-49) living with HIV/AIDS were women and girls. In Sub-Saharan Africa, more women than men are living with HIV, and young women aged 15-24 years are as much as eight times more likely than men to be HIV-positive.

In the Caribbean, approximately 53 per cent of people living with HIV are women. Globally, the incidence of HIV/AIDS among women has risen at a shocking rate. In 1997, 41 per cent of HIV infected adults were women and this figure rose to nearly 52 per cent at the end of 2009. Women’s empowerment is one of the only HIV vaccines available today. By integrating gender equality and human rights components into UN Women’s HIV/AIDS strategies, plans and policies, we hope to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls.

UN Women is committed to addressing underlying factors, such as violence against women, feminized poverty and women’s limited voice in decision-making, to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs, and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls.

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