Today many people around the world are infected with a serious disease called AIDS. Unfortunately, the disease has led to many deaths worldwide and yet it still remains untreatable. Many Public Health Departments are now taking the lead in publicizing education about AIDS. Public awareness and prevention programs are possible solutions to the spread of AIDS. The issue of this paper is on AIDS Prevention Programs that target women. One outlook is that prevention programs that target women will reduce the number of infections around the world. People opposed to this believe that prevention programs should aim more towards males. The disease is obviously an important social issue which impacts people worldwide.
Certain associations and studies believe that women are more at danger then men for contracting HIV/AIDS. They believe prevention programs should be focused merely on women. AIDS cases for women are increasing each year and women are one of the fastest growing populations being infected. At the end of 2002, UNAIDS, a Joint United Nations Progamme on HIV/AIDS, reported that 38.6 million adults are infected with HIV or AIDS worldwide. Roughly 50% or 19.2 million are women. Globally speaking, most women infected with HIV or AIDS are from developing countries. The fastest spread of AIDS among women is in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1999, for the first time more women than men were infected with HIV. Out of 22.3 million people infected in sub Saharan Africa 12.2 million, or 55%, are female. Of the 1.1 million youth infected in south Asia, 62% are female. According to research by the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the amount of AIDS cases in women have more than tripled in the United States. Since 1985, 7% of women were affected to 25% in 1999. With the number of AIDS cases in women increasing, organizations are relying on prevention programs aimed towards women to be the effective solution to prevent the spread of the virus amongst men and women.
In contrary to the opposing viewpoint, reports by UNAIDS felt that men should be the main focus in the prevention programs. In 2000, UNAIDS commenced a World AIDS Campaign which pushed for men to become more involved in preventing the spread of the AIDS outbreak. "We must stop seeing men as some kind of problem and begin seeing them as part of the solution,” according to Dr Peter Piot, the head director of UNAIDS. “Working with men to change their behavior and attitudes has tremendous potential to slow down the epidemic. It will also improve the lives of men themselves, not to mention those of their families."
There are several reasons why men should remain the main target to the prevention of the epidemic. The focus is mainly on changing sexual behaviors amongst men. Men grow up with certain beliefs and attitudes on how they should behave when dealing with intercourse. Dr. Elvira Belingon, Department of Health STD/AIDS Coordinator in Cordillera explained that worldwide studies prove that men are at a greater risk of spreading the disease because they are likely to have more unprotected intercourse and sexual partners than women do. "Too often, it is seen as 'unmanly' to worry about avoiding drug-related risks, or to bother with condoms," said Dr Piot.
UNAIDS feel these cultural beliefs and expectations allow men to become vulunerable to AIDS which endangers their own health or the health of their partners and family. This vulnerability has already affected gay and bisexual men in the United States. Sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis have rose for the second year in a row. The government feels that gays and bisexuals are more susceptible to these sexually transmitted diseases and with the help of these prevention programs they can decrease that number. In order to help control the AIDS epidemic, organization’s feel prevention programs should focus more on men’s behavior.
I believe that prevention programs should be aimed towards...