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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

       

Gender And HIV/Aids: From Policy to Practice

London

"The face of AIDS is becoming the face of young women". This was a recent comment of the Director of UNAIDS, Dr Peter Piot, who said that 58 per cent of those infected with HIV in Africa are women. The Commonwealth Secretariat and its partners continue to advocate that the fight against the pandemic cannot be waged without addressing the gender dimensions of prevention, mitigation, care, treatment and support.

The impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa was felt earliest in East Africa.

    

Resultant national HIV/AIDS policies and plans, with political commitment given at the highest level, have been able to successfully address aspects of the local epidemic. Most of these policies and plans, conceived in the mid-1990s, have been revised and some have included gender policies and strategies, but member states in this region have requested support to translate policies into action, and to integrate good practice back into policies.

Senior policy-makers, practitioners and development partners who are tasked with developing gender-sensitive policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS will attend a regional workshop in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, from 24 to 26 March 2003. The workshop aims to assist countries in the region to share experiences and strengthen their national response to HIV/AIDS through the incorporation of gender sensitive principles into national HIV/AIDS policies and practices.

The Secretariat's Social Transformation Programmes Division, in collaboration with UNIFEM and the Commonwealth Regional Health Community Secretariat for East, Central and Southern Africa, will host the workshop. Highlighting the integral importance of gender as part of a planning framework for dealing with HIV/AIDS is a priority for all three organisations, in the light of the rise in the numbers of women affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS.

    

Participants will learn by sharing experiences on mainstreaming gender in multisectoral HIV/AIDS national policies and programmes, and identify obstacles and opportunities to translate policies into practice.

Strategies will be identified to integrate good practice and experience in the field back into policy frameworks. Participants will develop recommendations for further national and regional action.