According to the World Health Organization, women and girls account for majority of the persons infected with HIV. Their vulnerability to HIV infections is a result of their poor socioeconomic standing, low literacy levels, lack of bargaining power in their relationships, amongst others
Internationally recognized days
In line with the 2012 International Women’s Day theme, “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”, there is need for efforts to be put into place to reduce on the risks facing women
Women infected with HIV are known to experience the following which makes them more vulnerable in the society:
- Shame due to the stigma associated with HIV
- Psychological trauma due to severe effects caused by the ARVs
- Abandonment by spouses especially in case of a discordant relationship
- Economic deprivation, which makes it difficult for many of the women infected with HIV to get meaningful employment
Infected with HIV: How to use the media to connect girls
The international women’s day, children’s day, amongst others always gets highlighted in several media outlets.
There is therefore need for countries to develop strategies of using the media to reach women and girls infected with HIV.
The media will also play a key role in reaching young women and girls with messages on:
- How to protect themselves from acquiring HIV
- How to negotiate for safe sex
- How to prevent re-infection with HIV
- How to support family members and friends already infected
Data already shows that 75% of adult women have access to the internet; whilst close to 70% of girls aged below 18 years have access to social media platforms like face book and twitter. This in itself provides an already active platform that can be used to reach out to girls with HIV targeted messaging
HIV/AIDS remains to be the leading cause of death amongst women in sub-Saharan Africa. Hence need for engagement with the media to reach women and girls with HIV messaging especially those infected with HIV.