Tanzania: Women’s HIV Infections Still On High Side

WOMEN are most affected by HIV in the country according to a recent report by Tanzania HIV and Malaria Indicator Survey (THIMS) 2012.

The THIMS report says women were leading with a 6.2 per cent and followed by men with 3.8 per cent. The survey also indicates the overall infection percentage of HIV for adults of between 15 – 49 years was at 5.1 per cent.

This was announced on Tuesday at the forum that discussed the role of economic empowerment in reducing HIV risks and vulnerabilities among girls and women in Tanzania. The meeting was officiated by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry,

Ms. Kijakazi Mtengwa on behalf of the Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Sophia Simba on Tuesday. Around 100 delegates and resource persons representing governments, employers and workers organisations, UN agencies, bilateral organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) attended.

The report further revealed that young women of ages 23-24 were close to three times (6.6 per cent ) more likely to be HIV positive compared to men (2.8 per cent) in the same age group. Speaking at the function, the Executive Chairperson of TACAIDS, Dr Fatma Mrisho has said that it was clear from the report findings that there existed more people who were at risk.

“We have continued to advise our development partners that there was still a need to have a multiple approach on intervention that includes treatment, education and prevention. Now that the country has 5.1 infection rate for HIV/AIDS, a situation that calls for further education and prevention methods should be harmonised as a measure to protect some vulnerable groups,” she said.

She added if the nation was to protect the 94.9 percent of those who are not infected the multi-throng approach was still as crucial as when the pandemic started. She also advised the media to be objective in stating about the target groups that aid assistance was aimed at, saying that it was not giving a green light to people to make sweeping statements that the assistance did not reach those intended.

“Who are the intended people, is it not the 94.9 per cent of the population, advising reporters to avoid generalisation on isolated cases of misappropriated aid funds,” she said.

The ILO Director, Mr Alexio Musindo, speaking at the forum said that among many factors, economic disempowerment contributes significantly to women vulnerabilities and risks of contracting HIV. He urged that prevention programmes which integrate economic interventions could contribute to increasing women’s authority in reproductive health issues.

The Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) organised the national forum. The objective of the event was to raise public awareness on the role of economic empowerment approaches in reducing HIV vulnerability and to learn from the traditional HIV prevention programming to date and capitalise on what could be returns resulted from integrated economic empowerment and HIV prevention strategies.

The forum also served as a platform for girls and women, policy-makers/planners, key government ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) and development partners to deliberate and formulate strategic views in reducing HIV risk and vulnerability among girls and women through economic empowerment approaches and sharing best practices.

The ILO statement issued yesterday said that overall, the forum is designed to deepen participants’ understanding of the relationship between economic empowerment and HIV risks, gender and vulnerability. It also said it is aimed at evaluating the role of economic empowerment strategies and opportunities in preventing and mitigating vulnerability of young men and women to HIV.

The forum also disseminated lessons and good practices on integration of economic empowerment and gender into HIV detailed potential programming directions that will address critical policy gaps on intersections between HIV prevention interventions.

Even though, everyone is exposed to the scourge and its impact, women and girls are disproportionally affected by HIV and AIDS. HIV prevalence in women is higher than in men in all age groups, but the differentials are highest at Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:”; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} the younger age.

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