Friday, 9 March 2012

Women and HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean

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Today, to highlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean and as part of activities leading up to tomorrow's National Women and Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I clipped the following from Avert, the UK-based AIDS organization.

"The Caribbean has also seen an alarming increase in the number of HIV infected women, and again the main mode of HIV transmission is through heterosexual sex. Women are more affected by HIV than men in this region, accounting for more than half of people living with HIV in 2010.  Young women are also more likely to be infected with HIV than young men, with HIV prevalence reported to be twice as high among young women.

Often men make the majority of decisions, such as whom they will marry and whether they will have more than one sexual partner. This power imbalance means that it can be more difficult for women to protect themselves from getting infected with HIV. For example, a woman may not be able to insist on the use of a condom if her husband is the one who makes the decisions.

Marriage does not always protect a woman from becoming infected with HIV. Many new infections occur within marriage or long-term relationships as a result of unfaithful partners. In a number of societies, a man having more than one sexual partner is seen as the norm.

Commercial sex has been identified as one of the key factors in the Caribbean HIV epidemic. A study of HIV prevalence among female sex workers in Georgetown, Guyana, showed that a very high number - 30.6 percent - were infected with HIV.

Female sex workers are frequently thought of as being at a higher risk of HIV exposure as they are often not in a position to insist that their customers wear condoms. Alarmingly it has been reported that men will still pay more money for unprotected sex with a sex worker.  This means that sex workers are not only at risk of becoming infected with HIV, but that if they are already infected, they can pass the virus on to their clients.

In recent years some countries have documented a decline in the rate of new HIV infections among sex workers. In Haiti, for example, HIV prevalence among female sex workers attending an HIV voluntary counselling and testing centre rose from 50 percent in 1985 to 63 percent in 1987.  It then declined to 22 percent in 1999 and 2003. This decline has been attributed to better education and knowledge about HIV prevention."


       

2 comments:

  1. hey, Red Pump Rocker, I'm rocking my red pumps 2x's this month. love your blog decor and your button. love it. i must get me one. just don't know how to do the code for it yet.
    happy reading and blessed weekend.

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  2. Hiya, Sidne. It took me three tries to get the blog button right and I'm glad you like it. If you google it, there are people who just give you the code and show you how to insert your own image.

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