UNAIDS has released their latest report “We’ve got the power”, that takes stock of the Beijing Declaration 25 years later. This international conference that took place in Pekin, China, aimed at addressing the issue of the promotion of women’s rights and of their empowerment. Two major documents emerged from this meeting, which are a set of principles on gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action.
With regard to the Strategic Objective 3 of the Platform for Action, namely “Undertake gender-sensitive initiatives that address sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health issues”, 25 years later, significant progress has been achieved but much remains to be done.
Notable progress, yet….
When AIDS was at its peak in 1995, AGYW were extremely vulnerable. During that year, “an estimated 1.2 million [930,000–1.6 million] women and adolescent girls (aged 15 years and older) were infected with HIV globally, representing half of all new infections in that age group. By 2018, there was a 39% drop in this number, to 740,000 [570,000–1.0 million], with women and adolescent girls accounting for 47% of new HIV infections among people aged 15 years and older. However, this falls short of the global target of reducing the number of new infections among individuals (aged 15 and older) by 75% by 2020”, the report says.
According to the figures provided in the report, the number of new infections dramatically dropped between 1995 and 2018. In 2018, there were 420,000 and 130,000 new infections respectively for ESA and WCA; this is partly due to prevention that contributed in reducing new infections by 40% worldwide and at the continental level. This resulted in a decrease of more than 50% compared to the 1995 reference year. However, the report highlights a very sad reality: “In sub-Saharan Africa, gender-related factors that fuel the epidemic are particularly striking: adolescent girls and young women were more than twice (2.4 times) as likely to acquire HIV than their male peers.”
Besides, with regard to progress made on the prevention front over the years, women are increasingly aware of their HIV status and many of them have access to health care services. Concerning health care for pregnant women, the reports highlights remarkable progress, also in terms of prevention of mother-to-child transmission…
The report identified several challenges and solutions related to discrimination between women and men. Discover more by downloading the report here.