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.