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Counting on Gender Development Containing Spread of AIDS

by: Anirudha Alam

Counting on Gender Development Containing Spread of AIDS

Anirudha Alam

HIV/AIDS is not merely a health issues. It is sorely a development issues undoubtedly. The vulnerability to HIV/AIDS has a grave and in-depth impact on every aspect of life. So the responses from all the levels and parts of the societies are very much necessary to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS any how. In this regard, centering upon the collective action, gender development should be well-defined involving the particular roles of government, civil society and the private sections.

It is deeply depressing thinking that sixty per cent of new HIV transmissions are to women and fifty two per cent to young adults worldwide. To get rid of this pernicious situation, gender development is the gateway to salvage commitment to making headway in integrating responses to subdue the AIDS epidemic. Entering upon the partnership developed to flourish collaboration with GOs, NGOs and communities across assorted sections and at miscellaneous levels, gender development activities have to be tooled up to contribute to the national fight against HIV/AIDS.

In the development countries, self-sustained development is being hampered by gender inequality. As per the findings of an in-depth research entitled ‘Vulnerability to AIDS due to Gender Discrimination’ conducted by BCC Network in 2006, 80% rural young people who are severely vulnerable to HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh are certainly women. They do not have enough livelihood education to win over the war of poverty at all. So they have to choice the easy way for earning their livelihood apparently engaging themselves in risky behaviors.

Coping with time and need paying heed to gender development, AIDS prevention may entail a multi-pronged approach which integrates reproductive health literacy, women empowerment, provision of such protective measure as condoms, prevention of sexual violence as well as safeguarding human rights. Assessing specific responses to non-discriminatory practices and identifying the risk factors for HIV/AIDS for both women and men along with defusing the associated stigma and gender-based violence come in containing the impact of HIV/AIDS on a sector comprehensively. As a result, AIDS education and work-place prevention underpinned by well-founded gender policy are able to internalize the gender development effectively.

It is likely that spread of AIDS is more than a social problem. It is the curse due to the lack of changing societal values, attitudes and behavioral patterns that fuel the endemic. Poverty associated with gender discrimination and stigma contributes to swelling the onslaught of HIV/AIDS as a whole. In many countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, the available evidence indicates that gender-based disparities sustain the impact of HIV/AIDS robustly.

Gender discrimination has magnified the AIDS endemic into an economic and social calamity, mostly in greater Africa. For instance, by now 57 per cent of all HIV-positive adults are women, and 75 per cent of young people living with HIV are women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. If gender development is ensured through life skill development, the vulnerable people, especially women, will be empowered financially and socially. They will not be compelled by hunger and poverty to be engaged in risky behaviors.

According to a survey conducted in Central Asia, one third of young women had not still heard of HIV/AIDS – yet globally the rate of infection among women is mounting inexorably. In the light of the recent study conducted by Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallayan Foundation, inclusive initiatives have to be taken on the urgent basis in Bangladesh to empower women and enhance their abilities to withstand health threats like HIV/AIDS. Catering to the vulnerable groups especially the destitute and disadvantaged women, there is a need for generating different pilot interventions and educational effort in response to campaign of AIDS prevention.

Strategies and interventions should tune in to sensitizing policy makers, senior health planners, program managers and other implementers to create a willing and friendly environment for achieving equality in every sector. There is no doubt that gender equality is the key way to sustainable development. So it is necessary to ensure that both women and men have to have equal access to information, treatment, care, support and productive resources. Then in true sense, gender development will be meaningful all along in preventing HIV/AIDS.

Anirudha Alam
AIDS Researcher
BCC Network
House 13, Road 10
Block C, Section 6
Mirpur, Pallabi
Dhaka 1216
Phone: 8801718342876, 88028050514

Ref: UNAIDS, World Bank, Amnesty International, UNESCO

Anirudha Alam is a prominent AIDS researcher and the Chief Consultant of BCC Network, Bangladesh. He writes and edits more than forty books and a good number of articles on various issues like women empowerment, human rights, education awareness, social development, income generating activities, environment awareness, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS awareness, juvenile literature, short stories and so on. His noteworthy books are Kulsums and Karims (a collection of success stories of disadvantaged people of Bangladesh), Kulsums (a collection of success stories of disadvantaged & destitute women of Bangladesh), The Reflections (a collection of posters on literacy & education of Bangladesh), Towards a New Hope, Social Assistance Message Collection, Social Assistance Advocacy Manual, Eaisab Rat Din (a collection of juvenile poems), Du Sha Bachharer Sera Bangla Kishor Galapa (a collection of juvenile Bengali stories of two hundred years) etc. Website:

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