All over the world, 34 million people are suffering from AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and half of them are women. What is even more disheartening is the fact that it still has no cure. There are medications and procedures that may decrease the rate of bodily damages caused by this disease, but no one has found out how to get rid of it. Because we focus on women’s health care, let us talk about the possible reasons why many women get inflicted with this lethal disease and what we can do to help them and save others from acquiring AIDS.
One of the possible reasons would be the existing patriarchal rule in the family and society. For example, a married woman cannot easily say no or insist the use of condoms whenever her husband wants to make love. This increases the risk greatly especially when the husband is actually unfaithful and had a lot of sex with other women.
Another reason would be violence against women. Sexual abuse is prevalent in today’s society. Forced sex or simply rape would pose a great risk of transmitting HIV virus to the victim. One study shows that women involved in abusive relationships are more likely to acquire AIDS than those who are not.
Poverty is also a key factor. In some countries, women are not given or are just handed limited property ownership rights. So if her husband dies, she will have no way of making ends meet. There are also economically imbalanced or challenged countries where women have hard time looking for jobs that would suffice to their daily needs. These instances force women to result to sexual exploitation which increases the risk of having AIDS greatly.
Because the alarming growing rate of HIV-positive women, governments and organizations continue to find ways to help eliminate the presence of this deadly disease. Here are the things women can do to protect themselves and what we can do to help each other.
First, preventive technologies have risen to stop the transmission of the HIV virus. One of them is the use of the female condom. So far, it is the only existing female-initiated form of protection. Another is an antiretroviral drug called the post exposure prophylaxis that aims to decrease the chance of HIV infection after being exposed to HIV. This is a powerful tool especially among women who have been raped provided she takes the required dosage within 72 hours or three days after the intercourse. However, it is not always freely available to women. That would be a great point to improve on. Moreover, researches are ongoing to develop a cream to be applied to the vagina to prevent HIV infection without bothering the partner. It is called microbide.
Aside from technological strategies, we can also advocate women’s rights. We must let the world know that every person is created equal, thus having similarly important says and perspectives on every issue especially regarding having sex. Moreover, educating people and letting them be aware of the issue is a powerful tool in combating AIDS.
No to AIDS!