Uphold the rights of HIV-positive women, says World YWCA

Published December 2, 2009

The sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV are being ignored, the World Young Women’s Christian Association warns in a statement marking World AIDS Day.”Globally an estimated 17.5 million women are currently living with HIV,” the Geneva-based World YWCA said in its Dec. 1 statement, which urged governments, international organizations and civil society to uphold HIV-positive women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.HIV-positive women are often encouraged not to have children, the association said, while in some countries, access to HIV treatment for women is tied to their agreement to use contraceptives. “In one study, 45 percent of women diagnosed HIV-positive were told not to have any more children –  only 18 percent of positive men were given the same advice, suggesting that health-care workers place responsibility for contraception on women. “In addition, there are an increasing number of documented cases of pregnant HIV-positive women being coerced into sterilisation or denied care because of their HIV status. Many HIV-positive women face stigma and discrimination when planning a pregnancy or seeking pre-natal care,” stated the World YWCA.The association describes itself as a global network of women and young women in 125 countries, and inspired by Christian principles as well as a commitment to women’s full and equal participation in society.”As civil society continues to push for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by the end of 2010, it is essential that governments and world leaders understand that for universal access to be truly universal, the human rights of young women and women living with HIV must also be upheld,” it said.World AIDS Day is observed on Dec.1 each year. The global theme for the day in 2009 and 2010 is “Universal Access and Human Rights.”


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