Stigma and Discrimination remain a Challenge

24 November 2014

At a forum to commemorate World AIDS Day eminent HIV scientists, educators and advocates called for the acceleration of women empowerment programmes to reduce the high rate of HIV infection in adolescent females. The multi-institutional panel discussion held on 26 November at the University of KwaZulu-Natal brought together experts from CAPRISA, MRC, HEARD, HST, UKZN and K-RITH to share insights on the current size and shape of the HIV epidemic. The panellists examined why a gender-conscious response to HIV is necessary, how to reduce the burden of HIV on women and girls, and good practice models for protecting women’s human sexual and reproductive health rights.

The panellists agreed that women and girls still bear the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS from an earlier age than men due to gender roles and economic dependence. The experts were unanimous that local community partnerships had to be strengthened to avert new infections.

Back Row(L-R): Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim(CAPRISA); Prof Miriam Adhikari (Health Sciences); Jennifer Maroa (K-RITH); Front Row(L-R): Andrew Gibbs (HEARD); Neetha Morar (MRC); and Sibongile Shezi (HST).