3/3/2010 5:10 AM ET (RTTNews) - The U.N. program on HIV/AIDS has said that inequalities and gender discrimination faced by women in many societies made them more vulnerable to picking up the HIV virus which causes AIDS.
UNAids which is presently holding a ten-day conference in New York launched a five-year plan for addressing the issues which put women at a greater risk from the illness.
According to it, lack of choice posed the main threat with up to 70% of the female population forced to have unprotected sex with their partners.
Further, UNAids said violence against women should be condemned, because in addition to the physical and mental scars it also affected their ability to negotiate safe sex.
"By robbing them of their dignity, we are losing the opportunity to tap half the potential of mankind to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Sixty per cent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has some of the highest incidence of HIV cases in the world, are HIV positive while in South Africa young women were three times more likely to contract the infection than their male counterparts.
More importantly UNAids pointed out that HIV services were not addressing specific needs of women and girls despite the disease being first detected 30 years ago.
Sidbe said the new UNAids initiative was aimed at empowering women by educating them on their right to have protected sex, human rights and giving them easy access to prevention, care and treatment.
Gender equalities encountered by the target population will be eliminated through the involvement of governments, development groups and civil society with women and girls becoming the focus.
by RTT Staff Writer
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