6 June 2016

Africa: Human Rights Violations Driving Spread of Aids

HUMAN rights violations including discrimination, violence, punitive laws, policies and practices are driving the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

This is according to human rights experts said ahead of the High-Level Meeting on ending AIDS by 2030, scheduled for New York on Wednesday.

Women and girl children in the continent are at most risk of infection.

The UN experts said laws and practices impede, and sometimes altogether bar, certain populations from accessing information, as well as health goods and services that are critical to the prevention, treatment, and care of HIV.

"Globally, women and girls are still the most affected by the AIDS epidemic and women living with HIV report higher levels of stigma, discrimination and violence than men living with HIV," the human rights experts underlined," the experts jointly stated from New York.

It emerged young women who experience intimate partner violence are 50 percent were more likely to acquire HIV than women who have not.

Barriers for women living with HIV/AIDS to access health services, such as third party authorization, deter many adolescents and young women from seeking sexual and reproductive health information and services.

This in turn can lead to higher level of unsafe abortion, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV infections.

Experts pointed out the ability of women and girls to protect themselves from HIV continued to be compromised by gender inequalities.

They said the upcoming meeting in the United States was a historic opportunity not to be missed to put an end to AIDS.

"The international community has made great progress in the fight to end HIV/AIDS, but it has been uneven. The present challenge is to reach the many who are still being left behind."

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