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The XVII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008)
  
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Women Take to the Streets...and the Media Center

August 7, 2008

Women of the world unite for their rights! The past few days have demonstrated the power and visibility of women at the International AIDS Conference, with hundreds of women and girls' rights activists leading the charge by marching to the Zocalo (the historic city square) to the beat of "all rights for all women." Women, men, transgender persons, sex workers, lesbians, adolescents, and gender equality advocates are demanding the fundamental human rights of women and young women: the right to live and make decisions without fear of violence, coercion, stigmatization or discrimination; the right to a free, healthy and safe sex life; the right to dignified work; the right to comprehensive information and services regarding prevention and sex education; the right to life-saving treatment... With women comprising 60% of adults living with HIV and AIDS in many regions of the world, women's lives hang in balance in the absence of these rights.

Perhaps one of the most impressive displays of women's rights activism at the conference was a rally around an issue that is not typically regarded as generating large, boisterous crowds: female condoms. Rallying for global access to the only currently existing HIV and STI prevention method that women can initiate themselves seems like a no-brainer. Women desperately need the information and tools to take prevention into their own hands—something that female condoms can provide. But advocates can tell you that trying to recruit ten friends to attend a female condoms rally can be a laughable affair...

...except for on Wednesday morning at the conference. Dozens of female condom advocates descended to the media center, singing the praises of female condoms to the tune of "Give Peace [female condoms] a Chance":

"Everybody's talkin' bout

Medication, vaccination, regulation, feminization,
Dedication, integration, coordination, United Nations,
Congratulations!

All we are saying, give females control
All we are saying, give condoms a chance"

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The singing erupted into dance with the help of Dance4Life. Dancing to expand access to female condoms worldwide? Who knew! Chants and hip swivels demanding access to the FC2 (the second generation of the female condom manufactured by the Female Health Company), to female condoms being twirled and tossed into the air, the message was clear: failure to make female condoms accessible and available to all women across the world is a grave injustice and violation of women's human rights.

Help us spread the word about the importance of female condoms to women's health and rights worldwide! Visit www.preventionnow.net for more information about female condoms and to join the campaign to expand global access to female condoms and other prevention options for women and men NOW. You aren't required to dance...but we are asking you to give female condoms a chance so women and young women will have the full range of prevention options that they deserve.


  
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This article was provided by Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project.
 
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AIDS 2008 Newsroom



Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.

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