International Women's Day celebration in Pakistan
Women's Day is celebrated every year on 8 March. It provides an opportunity
to: (i) assess the advances in women's equality; (ii) assess the challenges
women face in different social-cultural contexts; (iii) consider future
steps to enhance the status of women; and (iv) celebrate the gains
made in these areas.
year the theme is 'Women and HIV/AIDS'. According to the World Health
Organization (WHO), combating gender inequality is crucial in the
fight against HIV/AIDS. Women's vulnerability to the epidemic is increasing
throughout the world.
HIV/AIDS is a health issue, the epidemic is also a gender issue. Statistics
demonstrate that both the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS disproportionately
affects women and adolescent girls who are socially, culturally, biologically
and economically more vulnerable. The figures are alarming. In sub-Saharan
Africa, women make up 58% of people living with the disease. In southern
Africa one in four women aged 20-29 is HIV positive.1
is considered a low prevalence but high risk country for HIV/AIDS
due to the low number of reported cases and high prevalence of risk
factors. The total number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Pakistan by
December 2002 was 1998. The WHO/UNAIDS forecast model estimates the
number to be approximately 78 000.2
Human Rights Commission for Pakistan (HRCP) launched its annual report
titled State of Human Rights in 2003 on 19 March 2004 in Islamabad.
It states that violence against women continues and there is no evidence
of a decrease, with a reported 600 women losing their lives to honor
is regarded as a curse of God rather than a disease. The sufferers
are not given the status of a patient but of criminals and sinners.
Their families disown them and people hate them. They are thrown out
of jobs and schools. We have been trying to increase awareness about
STDs through our Family Health Program for the past 4 years. On 8
March 2004, our team launched an initiative which consisted of dissemination
of the following information through handbills and regular meetings
of various groups of men and women for brainstorming:
is a disease and not a crime or sin. Unprotected sexual activity
is the major but not the sole cause of spread of this infection.
Anyone can contract HIV through the following:
infected mother to newborn;
milk of HIV+ mother;
multiple use of infected syringes;
infected dental instruments;
infected instruments for piercing of ears and nose;
|2||Like all patients, people suffering from HIV/AIDS also deserve care, love and sympathy. They should be provided with all possible financial help by family and friends because the treatment is very expensive. They should be visited regularly. Diet should be monitored. We should also assist them to have peace of mind.|
they are a part of humanity, we have a moral obligation not to:
throw them out of home;
throw them out of jobs and schools.
|4||The community should recognise and ensure equal rights for women to have access to information, treatment, care and support regarding this disease.|