Illinois action blog

Monday, February 25, 2008

Editorial: Married to HIV

The Los Angeles Times published an excellent editorial last Friday about how the Bush Administration's global HIV/AIDS prevention policy isn't addressing the reality of African women's lives.

For me, this paragraph pretty much sums it up:

Religious groups are fixated on the need to stop HIV transmission through premarital and extramarital sex, but what's killing African women by the millions is unprotected sex with their husbands. Yet the United States spends more on promoting abstinence and fidelity programs ($198 million in fiscal 2007) than on promoting condom use ($147 million in 2007). Roughly 10 million African girls under the age of 18 are married each year, many to older men who seek HIV-free brides. To those wedded to HIV-positive men, marriage often means a death sentence. They have little power to control their husbands' condom use or extramarital behavior; they are more likely than young men to contract HIV; and those who know they're infected and do not want to bear children often have no access to contraception.

Can proponents of this policy really believe that couples will be abstinent within the context of marriage? The editorial also points out that while we've made great strides in stopping the transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her infant, the unintended pregnancy rates among this population are enormous. It'd cost far less to provide African women with contraceptives so they can plan their pregnancies, than it does to provide the medication necessary to halt transmission from mother to child.

Read the whole editorial from the Los Angeles Times.

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood Action Illinois, Global HIV/AIDS prevention, Bush AIDS Policy, African Women,

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Blogger Veronica said...

What is also missing in this discussion is that by focusing on remaining faithful to each other, the women are put in a situation where when they do get HIV, they are shamed by it. The abstinence & faithfulness creates a larger sense of shame when one becomes HIV+ because according to the A&F doctrine, you should be able to avoid infection, if you just behave. We should be the ones ashamed.

March 2, 2008 at 10:23 PM  

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