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HIV/AIDS and Gender-Inequalities 2010

HIV/AIDS and Gender-Inequalities 2010

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Abstract
This analysis provides objective arguments to counter the blame ideologies of indiscriminately positing women's at-risk behaviour as central to the ineffectiveness of the anti-HIV/AIDS agenda. The fulcrum of the debate is that as victims of an institutionally gender-discriminatory society whose structural barriers is significantly compromising the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, addressing issues of gender-inequalities, especially in developing countries will empower women to take responsibility for their health. Holistically, complimenting this ‘health’ approach with systematic sensitisation programmes should arguably let to enhance outcome in efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Comments to Dr Ignatius Gwanmesia antichildtraffic@yahoo.co.uk
Tel 07951 622137 United Kingdom
Abstract
This analysis provides objective arguments to counter the blame ideologies of indiscriminately positing women's at-risk behaviour as central to the ineffectiveness of the anti-HIV/AIDS agenda. The fulcrum of the debate is that as victims of an institutionally gender-discriminatory society whose structural barriers is significantly compromising the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, addressing issues of gender-inequalities, especially in developing countries will empower women to take responsibility for their health. Holistically, complimenting this ‘health’ approach with systematic sensitisation programmes should arguably let to enhance outcome in efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Comments to Dr Ignatius Gwanmesia antichildtraffic@yahoo.co.uk
Tel 07951 622137 United Kingdom

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Published by: Dr Ignatius Gwanmesia on Jan 29, 2010
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04/12/2013

 
HIV/AIDS prevention in developing countries
:
 
Examining the justification for putting gender inequality at the heart of prevention policies.
By Dr. Ignatius Gwanmesia
 
Abstract
This analysis provides objective arguments to counter the blame ideologies thatindiscriminately posit women’s at-risk behaviour as central to the ineffectiveness of the anti-HIV/AIDS agenda. The fulcrum of the debate is that as victims of aninstitutionally gender-discriminatory society whose structural barriers is significantlycompromising the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, addressing issues of gender-inequalities, especially in developing countries will empower women to takeresponsibility for their health. Holistically, complimenting this ‘health’ approach withsystematic sensitisation programmes should arguably let to enhance outcome inefforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Introduction
Hitherto, the decline of infectious diseases especially amongst the marginalisedsectors of our society was attributed primarily to medical advances and bettesanitary living conditions.Mckeown, (1976).Indeed, structural barriers likeunavailability of services or provider resistance were alien concepts. In today’s rather regimented, urbanised, increasingly segregated and more promiscuous society,those infectious diseases like malaria and smallpox have been replaced by equallylethal coronary disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, mental illness and other pathologies.Prevalently, discourses on these so-called diseases of the affluent especiallyHIV/AIDS are presented as if they reflect the problems of a homogenised society;obscuring the reality of class and the impact of social inequality on health. To date,not just feminists but critical analysts perceive gender discrimination, especially indeveloping countries as significantly responsible for the ineffectiveness of initiativesto prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.Mutangura, (2002, p. 3); HumanRights Watch, (2003).Describing the lethality and impact of HIV/AIDS especially onwomen as “raging with a Darwinian ferocity in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA)”, Stephen
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Lewis, (2004) further asserted that “gender inequality is what sustains and nurturesthe virus”
.
Referring to the debilitating and gender-induced affliction of women fromHIV/AIDS, Kofi Annan, (2002)’s observation about HIV/AIDS and SSA women wasreiterated by Lewis, (2004) who stated that, “the saddest thing is that the pandemicincreasingly has a women’s face; gender inequality in the face of AIDS is fatal.”While Payne, (2000, p.63) asserts that ‘there is no society in which men and womenare equal”, or “a society that is not patriarchal”, Goldberg, (1977, p. 26); it issuggested that “The reason that AIDS has escalated into a pandemic is becauseinequality between women and men continues to be pervasive and persistent; thereis a direct correlation between women's low status, the violation of their human rightsand HIV transmission” Heyzer, (2001). As Lewis, (2002) observed, “The challengeof protecting women and girls from AIDS-related human rights abuses is enormous.The abuses are many and varied, including rape within and outside of marriage,other sexual violence and coercion often abetted by poverty, domestic violence,unequal property and inheritance rights, divorce laws that exacerbate women’seconomic dependence on their husbands, and discriminatory barriers to educationand health services.”The paradox about the blame ideologies in fighting HIV/AIDS is that while the gender gap is ever-widening with women being given tokenistic vestige of ‘equality’; andpeople engaging in sex more for recreation rather than procreation, society expectswomen to be responsible for their health. So to what extent will empowering womencatalyse the prevention of HIV/AIDS? Africa is the stage and women the actors, letthe play begin. My hypothesis is that, without addressing the narrowness of thepolitical and medical models of changing lifestyle and individual behaviour withoutchanging the social and economic structures that has disempowered women, theoverall efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic will be futile.” 
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Definition
HIV
(human immunodeficiency virus) is the retrovirus that may lead to
AIDS
(acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Ogden, (2004, p. 329). HIV damages thebody’s defence (immune system), making it more vulnerable to the effects of opportunistic infections” Thomas and Pierson (1999, p. 169). Once HIV enters thebody, it weakens the immune system so that the infected person can no longer fightoff life-threatening illnesses such as tuberculosis or rare forms of pneumonia or meningitis- what are called opportunistic infections” Fitzsimons et al, (1995, p. 13).
Gender inequality
theorised on power relationship,
Gender’ 
-the sexualdifferentiation of human beings as male or female becomes a social concern or “gender segregation when we ascribe particular social significance to thesedifferences and allot roles accordingly so that they become a matter of socialconstruction rather than biological determination.” Burr, (1995, p. 12). In gender inequality, the disproportional power dynamics between the male and female humanbeings is perceived as discriminatory and exploitative of the latter. Hooper andDryden, (1994, p. 165).
Background
. To date legal documents like;-“the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights;- Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals to promote gender equality andempower women;-goal 6 which aims to combat HIV/AIDS” Mutangura, (2002, p. 2) and-the specific 1979 ‘United Nation Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women’ (CEDAW)” Mutangura, (2002, p. 3)have provided the framework for approaching the prevention of HIV/AIDS from agender neutral perspective. Despite these, the experiences of women diagnosed asHIV/AIDs positive in accessing relevant services show that gender inequality is not
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