Good news! Last week we wrote to you about the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has long relied on the ineffective ABC (abstinence, be faithful, and as a last resort use condoms) program as a means to prevent HIV and AIDS. Thanks to the tireless work of human rights activists around the world, the State Department announced major positive changes to PEPFAR this week!
This new plan includes a shift away from ABC and towards scientific, common sense methods, integrating "HIV prevention, care and support, and treatment services with family planning and reproductive health services, so that women living with HIV can access necessary care, and so that all women know how to protect themselves from HIV infection." PEPFAR will now emphasize condom distribution and safe sex, a proven method of HIV prevention.
This is tremendous news for feminists everywhere, as women make up approximately half of all people living with HIV worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up an estimated 57% of adults living with HIV, and three quarters of young people living with disease there are young women aged 15-24.
As you observe International Human Rights Day on December 10, celebrate this victory! There is always more work to be done and we thank you for your tireless efforts in support of women around the world.