AIDs/HIV are growing rapidly in Zambia. The growth seems to be growing significantly among women and young girls. Women and adolescent girls are socially, culturally and biologically more vulnerable for HIV/AIDs. Why is this? How can this be controlled?
Women who are HIV-infected face more discrimination than men who are infected, resulting in little help and little prevention to stop the growth of these diseases. Many women and young girls are being infected from men who unknowing transmit HIV. It is very common for men to have many sexual partners, increasing the chance of spreading the disease. However, some men do have sexual relations knowing about their disease and unfortunately, those they infect are young girls, often virgins. It is a false belief that having sex with a virgin can cure AIDs.
WHO advocates: “Interventions must be aimed at men (as well as at women) if women are to be protected.’’ Men find their masculinity and strength by taking risks and being tough while women are expected to be innocent and submissive to men. The men’s carelessness and self-proving actions are making the lives of many women miserable. These double standards result in the high increase vulnerability to HIV.
It is important to recognize these harmful gender roles that are increasing the spread of HIV. This is a disease that is taking the lives of many. It is a disease that does not discriminate against race, gender, nor age. It infects and it kills.
Hannah Bay Snider