HIV-Positive Women Overlooked by Top U.S. Policymakers, General Public, Opinion Piece Says
Top U.S. policymakers and the general public "fai[l] to recognize that AIDS now disproportionately affects women," Judith Auerbach, vice president for public policy at the American Foundation for AIDS Research, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. The "alarming ignorance" about the "disproportionate impact" of HIV/AIDS on African-American women displayed by both Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) during their debate last week was "inexcusable" and represents a "persistent problem" among U.S. policymakers and the general public, Auerbach says. Differences in biological, sociological and political factors between men and women -- including poverty, education, early marriage, violence, rape and physiology -- leave women more susceptible to HIV transmission and human rights violations and with less access to prevention and care services and accurate information than men, Auerbach says, adding that those differences have resulted in an "alarming" increase in HIV prevalence rates among women. "It is only when this unhealthy mix is acknowledged and addressed -- particularly by the highest levels of government -- that we will be able to stem the alarming increase of HIV/AIDS among more than half of the world's population," Auerbach concludes (Auerbach, Washington Post, 10/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.