African Women Gather To Address HIV/AIDS-Related Abuse
Hundreds of African women on Monday gathered for a conference in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to discuss issues surrounding violence against women living with HIV/AIDS, their rights and access to antiretroviral treatment, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. "Women are the ones who most severely bear [the] brunt of human rights abuse," and they "have been prone to violences and other atrocities related to their gender" and HIV/AIDS status, Bernice Heloo, president of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa, told attendees of the four-day conference. About 500 women from 30 sub-Saharan African countries are attending the conference.
"Many women have been driven from their marital homes, stripped of their hard-earned possessions, and separated from their children and people they love," Heloo said. She called on the international community to provide technical and financial assistance to "strengthen the battle against gender inequality in Africa -- a key factor in the spread of the pandemic -- and to contribute to the promotion of human rights for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS." The conference was organized by SWAA and its chapter in Burkina Faso with support from UNAIDS, the country's government and several HIV/AIDS nongovernmental organizations, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 2/4).