Stop Gender Discrimination Towards AIDS/HIV

-Mohammad Khairul Alam-
-Executive Director-
-Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation-

The most valuable period of human is adolescent. Adolescent’s stage of adventure and trialing, but they often lacks the knowledge, experience and maturity to avoid the grave risks that confront them. Lack of proper education and unemployment situation often complex the problems of developing world adolescents. Roughly one-third of the world's population is between 10-24 years of age, and four out of five young people live in poor and developing countries, a figure which is expected to increase to 87% by the year 2020. In many countries the majority of young people are sexually experienced by the age of 20 and premarital and consensual sex is common among 15-19 year-olds.

Although the overall world population living with HIV/AIDS appears to be declining, but rate of sexually transmitted infection/ diseases (STDs/STI) among adolescents is soaring: one-third of the 340 million new STDs/STI each year occur among people under 25 years of age. Each year, more than one in every 20 adolescents contracts a curable STDs/STI. More than half of all new HIV infections occur in people between the ages of 15 to 24 years.


The sexual health needs for adolescent girls are generally overlooked, Stigma and vulnerability affects particular groups of men as well as women. Although men generally have more access to information on sexual issues than women, and more decision-making power regarding sexual behavior, Access to information, and treatment for other infections which facilitate the transmission of HIV and onset of AIDS, including STDs/STI, are limited because of weak public health services, health workers’ negative attitude, and the high cost of treatment.

According to studies commissioned by UNESCO, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is a major health problem among youth in much of Asia. For example, in Bangladesh two thirds of all reported STDs occur among people under 25 years of age and the incidence is much higher among women aged 15-19 than among men of the same age. Half of the HIV/AIDS-infected persons in Vietnam were adolescents and youth. In China, 8.7% of the HIV carrier and AIDS patients belong to the age group 16-19.

Adolescent girls from the poor families in Bangladesh, most of whom are out-of-school/ dropout, comprise a sizeable proportion of the female population. They are especially vulnerable and neglected, coming under the purview of government programs only once they are pregnant- the majorities are out of school and are neither serviced by educational or school health programs nor by child health, reproductive health and nutrition services. At the family level too, girls are highly vulnerable: male child preference is pervasive, resulting in gender inequality in health care, food intake, school attendance and labor contribution of children, from an early age.

Gender inequality or Unequal power in sexual relations leads to the sexual double standard which has alarming implications for both men and women’s ability to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. Bangladesh is a, male-dominated society and violence against girls and women remains a problem. Unequal power relations between women and men, for example, may render young girls or women especially vulnerable to coerced or unwanted sex, and can also influence the capacity of girls or women to influence when, where and how sexual relations occur.” A recent survey initiated by Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallayan Foundation showed that about one-thirds young women (15-25 years) had heard of HIV/AIDS with poor knowledge to protect themselves from AIDS/STIs.

Source: Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation, UNAIDS, CARE, UNICEF

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