Sunday, September 9, 2007

En-gendering AIDS Prevention Gateway to Sustainable Development
En-gendering AIDS Prevention
Gateway to Sustainable Development

Anirudha Alam

Nowadays gender discrimination is the key challenge for sustainable development. It widens the likelihood of HIV/AIDS epidemic. So we have to alleviate all the discriminations as regards achieving ownership, leadership and dignity, enjoying freedom, controlling resources, accessing to information, establishing rights, making decision, grooming voices, taking responsibility as well as participating in development activities.

Women are being increasingly affected by HIV. So the reduction of gender-based discrimination has to be integral to the strategic response to HIV/AIDS. Otherwise there is a great scope that HIV/AIDS epidemic may be feminized. The aftermath of feminized endemic is very much enough for ruining overall development achievement. As per the UNAIDS report 2004, nowhere is the epidemic’s ‘feminization’ more perceptible than in sub-Saharan Africa, where fifty seven per cent of adults infected are women as well as seventy five per cent of young people infected are women and girls.

An essential fact is that lack of good governance is the ideal vehicle of deprivation and poverty. Concurrently spread of HIV/AIDS is closely associated with poverty and discrimination. All of these social issues intertwined with different byproducts like stigmatization, violence and sexual abuse affect the endeavors dedicated to establishing just society. People centered planning with a view to ensuring exclusive participation, accountability, commitment and transparency may promote good governance undoubtedly. Capitalizing on this pro-poor planning, HIV/AIDS prevention should be led by gender sensitized policy and strategy. Eventually, as a far-seeing impact it is possible to achieve sustainable development.

A socio-economic study in 2006 conducted by Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation shows that lack of reproductive health literacy attributed by social stigma and poverty among adolescents at rural level in Bangladesh makes 98% young women practice risky behaviors. They are growing as unskilled manpower having minimal livelihood development. They are turning into vulnerable especially to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)/HIV/AIDS on a great scale. Their vulnerabilities due to their too little life-skill are affecting the mainstream process of sustainable development extensively.

Being affected by the negative social and economic consequences of HIV/AIDS, women are compelled to experience various kinds of deceptions and deprivations cruelly. Therefore, a gender-inclusive approach to HIV/AIDS has to play a role to ensure women’s rights to productive resources comprising land, credit, agricultural technologies, and other facilities. In this regard, initiating outreach on HIV/AIDS to rural communities may help mitigate the negative impact of HIV/AIDS on sustainable development as a whole.

Without having gateway to health knowledge and protection comprehensively, women are very much susceptible to HIV infection. They, especially the young women, bear the vulnerability of the reproductive tract tissues to the virus. The stigma of STIs in women makes them hesitate to get proper treatment. They are supposed to bear the maximum burden of caring for sick family members. But often they have less care and support when they themselves are infected severely.

As the stepping stone to sustainable development, in the 1980s a new approach was evolved. This is the mainstreaming strategy which aims to make the goal of gender equality central to all development activities. If AIDS prevention is not en-gendered sustainable development might be endangered. So to en-gender all the development initiatives, especially HIV/AIDS prevention, it is necessary to involve a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic and social spheres. It results in that men and women will be benefited equally and inequality will be removed as a whole.

Anirudha Alam
Deputy Director
(Information & Development Communication)
BEES (Bangladesh Extension Education Services)
183, Lane 2, Eastern Road, New DOHS
Mohakhali, Dhaka 1206

Phone: 8801718342876, 88029889732, 88029889733 (office)
88028050514 (res.)



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