World AIDS Day 2007

Ladies and gentlemen:

If you didn't know already AIDS is officially a black disease. That's right. While the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS announced this week that the infection rate has actually leveled off this year and gone down, it should be a concern to everyone that a person with HIV/AIDS today is more likely darker-skinned, female and poor.

In the United States:
From the CDC: HIV infection was the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25–34 years and the third leading cause of death for African American women aged 35–44 years. The rate of AIDS diagnoses for African American women was 20 times the rate for White women. HIV/AIDS-related conditions are now the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25-34 years.

In The Caribbean:
From the Kaiser Foundation: More Caribbean women than ever before are living with HIV/AIDS. Women account for half of adults estimated to be living with
HIV/ AIDS. The impact on women is even more pronounced in some countries within the region (in Guyana, women represent 60% of adults living with HIV/AIDS). Some country-level studies within the region have found infection rates among
young women 2 to 6 times higher than their male counterparts.

In Africa:
The World Bank: Women especially bear a dispropor­tionate part of the AIDS burden in Sub-Saharan Africa - the majority of people living with HIV are women (61%).Mitigation of gender inequalities and feminization of the HIV epidemic continue to be one of the most needed strategic areas of intervention. Integration of gender equality into development policy and HIV/AIDS programs at the country level is a high priority, but the lack of political will, limited capacity, restricted funding and weak institutions make integration a major challenge.


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