Focus on women and HIV

DAY one of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children yesterday called on regional governments to prevent gender-based violence and acknowledge the vulnerability of HIV-infected women.

DAY one of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children yesterday called on regional governments to prevent gender-based violence and acknowledge the vulnerability of HIV-infected women.

Gender Links urged Southern African governments to put in place prevention plans to end gender-based violence before 2015.

At the same time, Aids Accountability International produced a scorecard showing how governments are failing women in the global Aids response.

The Southern African Development Community Gender Protocol Baseline Barometer notes that "specific targets and indicators need to be strengthened. More resources and effort needs to go towards prevention".

According to data on gender-based violence in Southern Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland and Tanzania do not currently have legislation on domestic violence.

Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania do not adhere to specific legislation that relates to sexual offences.

Gender Links is also linking its campaign to the call by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on all governments to develop integrated plans with specific targets and time frames as part of his global UNite to End Violence Against Women Campaign.

According to Aids Accountable International, HIV is the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age globally.

UN Secretary-General Special Envoy on Aids in Africa Elizabeth Mataka said: "We are losing too many women to this disease by not focussing on the practical interventions that help them to protect themselves from HIV-infections. "

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