Argentinean Activist Advocates for Women With HIV
May 16, 2007
Argentinean Patricia Perez was among 25 activists and leaders from several Latin American countries who gathered in Mexico City May 8-11 to discuss the feminization of HIV/AIDS in the region. According to the UN Population Fund, three years ago there were seven or eight men with HIV/AIDS in Latin America for every infected woman; today that ratio is three to one.
Perez, a regional coordinator for the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Latin America and a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and colleagues discussed strategies for next year's 17th International AIDS Conference. Around 25,000 researchers, health care professionals, government officials and civil society advocates are expected to attend the conference, which will be held in August in Mexico City.
According to Perez, the conference must move beyond science to address the social and cultural context in which the global epidemic is occurring, particularly for women. "As women living with HIV, we know what we need, so we should be sitting down at the tables where governments are making the decisions," she said.
The vast majority of Latinas living with HIV suffer from stigma and discrimination, the activists said. "Invisibility, silence, and indifference will only end when women living with HIV raise our voices and make ourselves heard," noted Hilda Esquivel, leader of the group Mexicanas Postivas Frente a la Vida.
Teresa Rodriguez, head of the UN Development Fund for Women for Mexico, Central American, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, commended the activists for their efforts and for taking a leading role in preparing for the conference next year.
Inter Press Service
05.11.07; Diego Cevallos
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.