Women’s voices are still being left out in the battle against HIV/AIDS, despite frequent calls for their increased participation in determining resource allocation over the disease, according to a new United Nations-backed study.
“This is particularly true for women who are most affected by the epidemic as for far too long HIV-positive women have been invited only after agendas have been set out or policy decisions taken,” said the publication, produced by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the ATHENA Network and presented yesterday at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.
The conclusion was reached after nine months of extensive global research and interviews, and the new study advocates a road map for action which calls for advancing women’s leadership and participation by tackling the obstacles they face.
“It is necessary to fulfil the commitments made to ensuring women’s and girls’ voices, concerns and perspectives are incorporated in the decision-making processes that affect their lives,” said Teresa Rodriguez, UNIFEM Regional Programme Director for Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
“HIV-positive women and other key populations need to be more than bystanders or advisors in the formation of the content and direction of the AIDS response; they must be supported to be leaders.”