Thursday, May 12, 2011

Journalists Trained On Gender, H/Rights And HIV/AIDS

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- Journalists from different Media institutions were from the 27 – 29 April 2011 trained on Gender, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS.  
The training was organized by The Gambia National AIDS Support Service Secretariat (GAMNASS), and it’s aim was to enhance journalists understanding about the gender concerns in HIV/AZIDS and to identify strategies that could address the challenges of HIV/AIDS from a gender perspective.  
According to the presentation delivered by Madam Haddy Mboge of GAMNASS Secretariat, three critical factors are interconnected that place gender issues at the core of the HIV/AIDS problem in Africa.  

This, she disclosed, were risks, factors and vulnerability, which she added, has implications for strategies to reduce the overall prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa; and for how and to when AIDS prevention activities are directed.  Dilating on vulnerability and risk, she said, “for women, risk taking and vulnerability to infection are increased by norms that make it inappropriate for women to be knowledgeable about sexuality or to suggest condom use.”  However, for that of men, she highlighted that the risk and vulnerability are heightened by norms that make it hard for men to acknowledge gaps in their knowledge about sexuality.  
She added that in cultures where HIV is seen as a sign of sexual promiscuity, gender norms shape the way men and women infected with HIV are perceived.  In that HIV positive women face greater stigmatization and rejection than men.
On vulnerability, she told the journalists that women are biologically more vulnerable than men as they tend to carry or have sex with older men who may have more sexual partners and hence be more likely to be infected.
On the areas of stigma and discrimination, Mr. Ahmed Jegam Loum of NASDO disclosed the causes of stigma and discrimination as ignorance, lack of understanding of transmission mode, prejudice, traditional beliefs, lack of respect for humanity, poverty etc.  
He said stigma and discrimination (S and D)being a social disease create an impact on one’s life. 
 “The fear of experience of exclusion continue to inhibit prevention, testing and treatment, stigma prevents utilization of treatment, care and support services that can prolong health”. 
 Sex workers and other marginalized groups experience double stigma first of being a sex worker and secondly being HIV positive, as she noted.

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