Sunday, April 22, 2007

Get all girls into school and give them a fighting chance against HIV

Across the world today, one in every five girls of primary school age are not in school. When girls miss out, not only are they denied the chance to learn to read and write, earn a living and participate in democracy, it also puts their lives in jeopardy. Education gives women and girls the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to protect themselves against HIV and AIDS. The Global Campaign for Education is calling on world leaders to join up and take urgent action now. They must ensure everyone, especially girls, can go to school and get the education needed to fight for their rights. Poorer countries need to enact policies that will make school free, accessible and safe for girls and boys, whilst rich countries must live up to promises repeatedly made, and still not fulfilled, to increase aid in support of these policies.

Around the world, 80 million children - mostly girls - are out of school
. Eight hundred million adults, mostly women, cannot read and write. Yet free education has been enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 1948.

Giving girls the chance to learn to read and write not only fulfils their right to an education – but it also helps them in challenging the many power imbalances between men and women, and crucially in protecting themselves against HIV.

In a survey carried out last year 30 per cent of girls in South Africa said that their first sexual experience was under force or threat of force. When it comes to HIV and AIDS women and girls fare the worst – accounting for 74 per cent of young people living with HIV in Africa.

At present many women simply do not have the power they need to decide who to have sex with, when to have sex and how to have safe sex. Education can give women a chance to challenge this situation. The more education women and girls receive, the better they are able to negotiate safer sex and HIV rates. This is clearly demonstrated in Swaziland, where two in three girls who are in school are HIV negative, while two in three of girls out of school are HIV positive.

Girls who complete primary school are 50 per cent less likely to be infected with HIV. Seven million cases of HIV could be prevented in a decade if all children attended primary school.

Not only are educated girls better able to protect their own health but they are also able to make informed choices that can protect the health of their family and earn a greater income, giving them more bargaining power within the home:
~The children of women who can read and write are 50 per cent more likely to live past the age of 5.
~In poor countries, each year of schooling increases girls' future earning power by 10-20 per cent.

The Global Campaign for Education asks that leaders no longer turn a blind eye whilst the rights of women and girls are denied. Give them a fighting chance. Ensure education is of high quality, free and accessible to everyone, especially girls.

Click here to read the entire article!


Simon said...

Women Won't Wait , a new international coalition of women's rights groups, has released a report entitled Show Us the Money: Is Violence Against Women on the HIV & AIDS Funding Agenda?

More women will get the skill to fight against HIV, if more people teach HIV knowledge like the author. You may find more info about how women protect themselves from HIV in my blog poz with HIV

Anonymous said...

Combating HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh

Mohammad Khairul Alam
Executive Director
Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation
24/3 M. C. Roy Lane
Dhaka-1211, Bangladesh
Tell: 880-2-8628908
Mobile: 01711344997

HIV/AIDS epidemic is described as the worst difficulty in the history of health. In fact, human beings have been having great problems since time immemorial but there had never been the worst complexity like AIDS. HIV/AIDS is similar to war but it is worse than war in that when armies fight, it is mostly the men who are killed but HIV/AIDS kills women and children. HIV/AIDS kills people in the prime of their life. HIV/AIDS has no existing cure but there are several ways it can effectively be controlled. After all, common adage has it that prevention is better than cure. If an individual has enough prevention mechanism, there is optimism that the virus can be triumphed upon by the mankind.

Bangladesh is a Muslim countries, Sex is every where not permitted except 15 brothels in Bangladesh, Female Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) in Bangladesh are generally adolescent and they are more vulnerable to infection as their low status makes them less able to negotiate the use of HIV/AIDS or Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs/STI) prevention methods e.g. condoms, also the young age makes them more biologically vulnerable. The destiny of CSWs, in relation to their vulnerability to HIV infection, depends mostly upon safe sex behaviors, with the use of condoms.

The problem of Female Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) in Bangladesh exists for more than two decade. There are larger numbers of CSWs is operating all over the country, Bangladesh, significantly increases the risk of bridging the high risk groups and moving infection into the general population. Men who frequently visit commercial sex areas and have sex with CSWs and also with their monogamous wives, function as a bridging population and significantly aid the confluence of HIV/STDs into the innocent healthy population.

In generally Bangladesh is a high prevalence country of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly among commercial sex workers. It is estimated about 40% CSWs infected in several STDs/STI. Illicit sex is often considered as the highest risk segment of the population whereby one could get HIV or STD due to the high-risk sex activity itself and the often-additional injurious high-risk behaviors practiced by sex workers e.g. injection drug use (IDU). CSWs are the principal transmitters of HIV in many countries.

Certainly, adolescent girls prostitution is booming in Bangladesh. Adolescent girls engage or are forced into prostitution for trafficking or socio-economic reasons. Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation carried out a recent field investigation, the research confirmed that adolescent girls’ prostitution is widespread in Bangladesh, although hidden at first sight from foreigners, especially in Dhaka city. Adolescent girls involved in prostitution are to be found in residence homes converted into brothels or in hotels. The majority are aged 15-18.

Injecting drug use (IDU) has been the main route of HIV transmission in Bangladesh. While the transmission through sexual contact is still widely considered a major factor worldwide, but transmission through injection drug use (IDU) is also increasing at an alarming rate. Here the needles through IDU become one of the main factors of transmission. The drug user use drugs illegally. As a result, they do not have access to enough and clean needles. They share the same needles. This passes the virus in several ways: The first way is that the virus gets transmitted through the same needles they share. The second one is that they are influenced by drugs to become unconscious of using safe sex. The third one is the fact that this category of people is said to be having sex frequently and more carelessly with any individual than any other group.

HIV/AIDS would turn into an epidemic in Bangladesh if drug users do not stop sharing needles. A 2002-2003 CARE study found that nearly 40% of Bangladesh drug users use dirty needles; 4% of those were HIV-positive, a figure more than double the 1.7% infection rate reported among drug users in a 2001 study.

In some regions of Sub-Sahara, the impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic, including its social and economic impact, has been far-reaching. People have become impoverished, agricultural and industrial productivity diminished, employment system rampant, education system eroded and health care system and other care providers overburdened.

Reference: CARE, World Bank, Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation