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International News

South Africa: Women's Rights a Key Factor in Fighting HIV/AIDS

July 18, 2008

Anglo Platinum, a subsidiary of the mining giant Anglo American, is sponsoring a three-year initiative that promotes women's rights in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

The microfinance initiative has benefited about 5,000 women in 85 villages near the company's mining operations. A report by Anglo American South Africa found that a combined microfinance and training intervention can have health and social benefits. Linking entrepreneurial training with gender and HIV/AIDS education empowers rural women financially and domestically, it said.

According to Anglo Platinum, the initiative has contributed to a 55 percent drop in domestic rape, a significant risk for HIV transmission. Recent research has shown promising effects on HIV prevention. For example, younger participants in the program, the highest HIV risk group, became better communicators about sexuality and were more likely to have had an HIV test and used condoms.

The HIV/AIDS infection rate for young women in developing countries is four to five times higher than for men because of women's physical vulnerability, inadequate health services and because they typically have little control over their reproductive lives.

Last year, the World Health Organization selected the initiative as one of its 12 global case studies that have been proven to work and can be replicated in other countries.

Other company initiatives being considered include providing antiretroviral treatment for dependants of all South African employees who are not covered by health insurance and using public-private partnerships to overcome the challenge of HIV/AIDS.

Back to other news for July 2008

Adapted from:
Business Day (South Africa)
07.16.2008; David Jackson

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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.
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