IRIN News Examines Challenges of HIV-Positive Women in LiberiaIRIN News on Thursday examined the challenges of HIV-positive women in Liberia, including unemployment, gender discrimination and violence. According to a 2008 government report, although women account for about half of the 100,000 HIV-positive people in Liberia, women and girls are "doubly disadvantaged" by HIV/AIDS because they often serve as caregivers as well as patients. The report noted that "little is known about how HIV is affecting vulnerable populations" in Liberia, including women, young people, rural residents and children. In addition, violence against women "continues to permeate society and rape is among the most frequently reported crimes," the report said.
According to David Logan, grant coordinator for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, since 2007 more than 1,000 women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS have participated in job training activities such as basket weaving, fabric dyeing and fish preservation. He added that it is difficult to track whether these women found vocations as a result of the training because "[m]ost beneficiaries use these skills to start small businesses in the informal economy." According to Logan, the Global Fund also has provided funding to establish an Internet cafe that will be operated and managed by HIV-positive employees. The cafe is scheduled to open in the coming weeks, Logan said. He added that the Global Fund plans to use a $78 million grant, allocated for 2009 to 2013, to "expand activities to fight gender inequity, sexual and gender-based violence and unemployment faced by HIV-positive persons." These issues are "all related," Logan said (IRIN News, 1/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.