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Preventing HIV Infection
HIV/AIDS Update 2002
Strategy for Prevention
Country Commitments
Regional Response
Global Action
Conclusion: Challenges
Strategy for Prevention

The current situation
Why focus on prevention?
Strategy for prevention
Core areas of support
Young people, Condom programming, Pregnant women
Enabling environment
Mainstreaming gender concerns, Population and development concerns, Advocacy and partnerships, Capacity building

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Enabling environment

Attention to key cross-cutting issues can help improve the environment for action. Necessary aspects of HIV prevention measures include gender perspectives, data on population and development concerns, advocacy and partnerships, and capacity-building both within and outside UNFPA.

1. Mainstreaming gender concerns

Men, like this Pakistani father with his children, are encouraged to take responsibility for protecting themselves, their partners and the well-being of their families by preventing the spread of HIV through safe and responsible sexual behaviour.

Because more than 75 per cent of HIV infections are transmitted through sexual relations between women and men, an awareness of the forces affecting these relations is a basic requirement when planning interventions.

Gender dynamics are understood as the different roles, expectations, identities, needs, opportunities and obstacles that society assigns to women and men based on sex.

Women often are not equal with men as they enter into sexual relations. Many women are made vulnerable to infection as a consequence of powerlessness, discrimination, violence and poverty.

UNFPA supports programmes that provide reproductive health information and services and advance the right of women to exercise control over their lives and their sexuality.

Women, especially young women, need to be empowered to say NO to unsafe sex, to abstain from sex and to avoid the risk of infection.

UNFPA-supported programmes also reach out to boys and men, improving access to information, condoms, treatment for STIs and other services to help them take care of their own health and to support responsible sexual behaviour.

Community leaders in particular are calling on men to take more responsibility for stopping the outbreak and protecting their partners and themselves.

They are discussing the need for men to be good role models for boys by respecting their wives as partners and educating their daughters.

  • Violence against women has escalated following armed conflict in Burundi, increasing risks of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy. UNFPA is supporting the efforts of several local partners to increase access to reproductive health services, establish community programmes addressing violence against women, mount radio and television awareness-raising campaigns, assess women’s situations and document their wishes, and sensitize health workers.

  • In Ethiopia, a study on HIV/AIDS and gender was initiated by UNFPA and the International Labour Organization (ILO) through the UNAIDS Technical Working Group. The study aims to make visible the links between gender inequities and the spread of HIV/AIDS and to identify tools for intervention.

  • A training module on HIV/AIDS was included in the manual, Gender Mainstreaming in Reproductive Health: Services and Health Programme Management, developed with UNFPA support for use in Algeria, Morocco and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

  • In Paraguay, 15,000 men in the armed forces have participated in workshops on sexual and reproductive health and gender equity. Services and sensitization are being integrated within military training academies and the military health system, with UNFPA support.

  • Young men from indigenous communities in Guatemala have volunteered for training in HIV prevention, including the distribution and correct and consistent use of condoms. The migration of men from rural to urban areas for work has led to increased risk of infection for their partners.

  • Government representatives and AIDS focal points in various ministries were invited to examine the National AIDS Plan in terms of gender issues at a UNFPA-sponsored gender and HIV/AIDS workshop in Mozambique.

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