July 27, 2010
In this week's issue we conclude our reporting from the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, by focusing our attention upon women and girls. Women comprise roughly half of all people infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide and Black American women are disproportionately represented in the epidemic in the United States. To bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic to an end, we must value women and girls' voices and their perspectives must inform the conversation. Nowhere has the value of women's involvement been more clearly on display than at this conference, where a woman was the co-investigator in the biggest breakthrough -- the groundbreaking CAPRISA microbicide research -- and 900 Black South African women fought to end the epidemic in their communities by participating in that study.
This week Ayana Byrd describes the results of women's successful struggle to carve out a place for themselves on the conference agenda, after feeling that their voices and contributions went underrepresented in the past. And Angela Bronner Helm writes about important innovations in Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, an approach that holds out promise that women (and one day, men) will be able to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS with or without their partners' consent or even knowledge.
Yours in the struggle,