World AIDS Day
December 1st was established as World AIDS day in 1988 in order to raise awareness, education, and to fight prejudice. AIDS continues to be an urgent issue, and there are still many things to be done to stop the pandemic worldwide.
Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, has said that “AIDS has a woman’s face.” Women now comprise 50% of those who have contracted the HIV virus, and in Africa that figure is 58%. A recent report released by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS states that two–thirds of those who are newly infected in developing countries are between the ages of 15-24, and of that group, 64% are female.
HIV/AIDS infection rates are increasing at an alarming rate among young women in Africa and Asia, particularly among monogamous, married women. Whether through rape, abuse in and out of the home, or as targets in civil war, women bear the brunt of violence worldwide and as a result are more susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS.
AIDS is also very much a local issue. The Bush administration wants to spend millions of dollars on abstinence-only sex education that puts teenagers at higher risk for HIV/AIDS. In the U.S. HIV infection rates are steadily growing, as is the case around the world. In the U.S. African-Americans represent only 12% of the population, but 38% of the AIDS cases. Rates of infection have risen dramatically among young African American women in recent years.
Learn more about why AIDS now “has a woman’s face” and spread awareness about an exciting new development in prevention research with our Women, AIDS, and Prevention in the Face of a Global Pandemic campaign.
Why is World AIDS day so important for women?
- It is a day to build awareness around an issue that disproportionately affects women.
- In Botswana the AIDS rate for women and girls 15 to 19 is 15.4%. For men and boys it is 1.2%. The rate for 25-29 year old women is 54%, for men it is 29.7%.
- In Africa the rate of female infection is 58%, rising to 75% in women between the ages of 15 and 24.
- AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women ages 25-34.
Take Action this December 1st!
- Have a “Women and AIDS” drive in a high traffic area on campus (free speech area, student union, etc.) Hand out flyers that include important facts about women and AIDS, and collect donations for an AIDS charity that supports women.
- Host a film screening and discussion to foster dialogue about the issue of women and HIV/AIDS. One film you could use for such an event is the documentary, PBS Visionaries: U.S.-Funded International Family Planning and HIV/AIDS Programs in Kenya and India. Call FMF's Campus Team (toll free) at 1-866-444-FMLA (East Coast) or 1-866-471-FMLA (West Coast) to get a free copy.
- Partner with your campus Health Center staff or an affiliated Health Center student group to hold a women-only information session on reducing the risks of HIV/AIDS
- Hand out condoms in a high traffic area on campus with informational flyers about the effects of the global AIDS pandemic in the U.S.