UNIFEM launches HIV/AIDS programme for women

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The regional office of the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Dakar, Tuesday started a "Gender HIV/AIDS" programme, which covers five countries in the region, within the framework of the Pan-African women's activities.
Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal are involved in the programme, which seeks to sensitise governments on the pandemic and also encourage the use of female condoms.
"We want to persuade them (governments) to subsidise the product and make it affordable, thus allowing a distribution throughout the community," declared Aminata Toure, Co-ordinator of the programme.
In line with the UN General Assembly's recent special session on HIV/AIDS, the Dakar programme is expected to lead to a co-ordinated strategy by the civil society to bring decision makers to take concrete actions in the defence of women's rights.
These relate to access to female condoms and general protection from the pandemic.
Unlike female condom, which is unpopular in Senegal, male condoms are readily available and the level of usage is quite high, especially among the high-risk groups like prostitutes, 99 percent of whom have easy access to the protective shield.
Between 1988 and 1997, the distribution and use of male condoms went from 800,000 to 7,010,000 and according to a survey, 62 percent of the population say they used condom for risky sexual relations.
In the nation's capital Dakar, the male condom usage rate is put 67 percent among men and 45 percent among women.

31 july 2001 10:02:00

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