The pattern is clear: as a new global health crisis erupts, women are placed at the centre of impact. In some cases, women are held responsible for preventing transmission. In other cases, women are expected to manage the crisis in the face of failed health systems. And if the crisis has anything to do with children, pregnancy or sex, women are held responsible for managing it.
With the passing of International Human Rights Day on 10 December, it is important to recognise the link between HIV and human rights. Stigma and discrimination characterise the global HIV epidemic making it difficult for key populations to reach the HIV prevention and treatment services they need.
Organisations operating in countries with a high HIV prevalence are increasingly making efforts to tackle the epidemic and develop strategies to reduce workers risk of HIV. Ill health and loss of life are major negative cost of the epidemic; however it also has the effect of crippling economies, as a significant proportion of the work force is affected. Industries such as oil and gas have realised that addressing HIV makes business sense, as well as ensuring the well-being of thousands of people.
The 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) is being held this year in Melbourne, Australia, from July 20-25th. The biannual conference is one of the most important events in the HIV calendar, and gives an opportunity for a diverse range of voices to come together, share experiences and drive forward positive change for the HIV epidemic. This guest blog series will include reflections from key organisations working in the field of HIV - the HIV/AIDS Alliance, STOPAIDS, CAFOD and Save the Children.