International Community Must Increase Efforts To Prevent Spread of HIV Among Women, Opinion Piece Says
Although providing increased access to HIV/AIDS treatment is "part of the equation," the international community must "do a much better job of preventing" the spread of HIV, "especially among women," to "secure Africa's future," Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in a Guardian opinion piece. According to Gates, a "top priority" in the fight against HIV/AIDS "must be to address the prevention needs of women and girls." Gates writes that biologically, women are twice as likely as men to contract HIV and that many women "have little power to ensure their partners are faithful or use condoms."
According to Gates, a woman should not "need her partner's permission to save her own life." He adds he is "hopeful" that science and technology "will put the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women." According to Gates, "[p]romising research" in HIV-prevention methods, such as microbicides, is underway. "In addition to developing new prevention methods," the international community also should "address more fundamental issues" that place women and girls at an increased risk of contracting HIV, such as sexual violence and social and economic inequalities, Gates writes. He adds that it is "no coincidence that girls with better access to education are also less likely to become" HIV-positive.
The fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa is a "priority" at this week's summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, Gates writes, adding that donor governments "should take this opportunity to pledge new resources for effective prevention and treatment programs and help fast-track research on new prevention methods" (Gates, Guardian, 6/6).