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We Want to Hear from You

As we commemorated World AIDS Day earlier this month, the importance of addressing the needs of women and girls as part of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy was clear. While we have made tremendous progress in learning how to prevent and treat HIV, including among women and girls, much work remains.  Of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, about 290,000 are women and women account for 23 percent of new HIV infections.

This Administration has made combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic a priority. For women, that includes addressing gender-based violence and gender related health disparities.  This violence can increase the risks women and girls face of acquiring HIV while decreasing their ability to seek prevention, treatment, and health services.

As directed by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, federal agencies are collaborating and coordinating in an unprecedented manner to decrease new HIV/AIDS infections, improve HIV-related outcomes, and reduce HIV-related disparities.  To continue this collaborative approach, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum in March 2012, establishing an interagency working group on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities.

The working group includes representatives from the Departments of Justice, Interior, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Management and Budget. We are also tapping into the wealth of expertise and experience of members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS as well as our global Federal partners from the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Gender Technical Working Group from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The interagency group is charged with developing recommendations that focus on increasing public awareness of the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender related health disparities; sharing best practices and gender specific strategies aimed at addressing women’s risks and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and violence; and prioritizing the needs of women of color who make up the majority of women living with and at risk of HIV infection in the United States.

Since June 2012, working group members have met regularly to pursue this mission of interagency coordination and the development of recommendations. We believe that it is critical to obtain input from as many stakeholders as possible regarding the issues the working group is addressing.  So we want to hear from you.

From December 202012 to January 202013 you will be able to submit your individual stories, experiences, and comments to the working group by completing this online form. While we welcome any comments salient to the issue, we also ask that you consider the following questions:

1) How can we best address both violence and HIV among women and girls?
2) What are model programs and promising practices in addressing the intersection of HIV/AIDS and violence against women and girls?
3) What are barriers to reaching women and girls affected by HIV and violence?
4) What are the most effective strategies to reach women and girls who are living with violence and with HIV?

We would appreciate if you could keep you submission to under 500 words.

We are extremely grateful for your input. Your experiences and recommendations will inform our work, and we will be sure to keep you informed as we move forward.

Comments

  1. I HAVE BEEN HIV POZ FOR 23 YEARS, I WAS THE FIRST HETRO TO BE DIAGNOSED. I KNEW AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE THE ONLY AND I SAY THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THIS INFECTION IS TO TEST EVERYONEI MEAN EVERYONE, THAN THOSE WHO ARE INFECTED HAVE A CHOICE TO EITHER GET A TATTO WHERE ONLY YOU SEX PARTNER WOULD SEE OF GET A SMALL ELECTRICAL IMPLANT THAT A PHONE CALL WILL DETECT IF YOU ARE POZ . THIS WOULD BE USED BY THE PERSON WANTING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES, YES THIS MUST BE DONE TO IRRADICATE THIS INFECTION FOR ONCE AND AND FOR ALL. THE INFECTIONS HAPPENING TODAY ARE DRUG USERS, THOSE WHO HAVE IT AND DONT CARE AND INFECT OTHERS, AND THOSE WHO DONT KNOW THEY HAVE IT..

  2. Bobbie Ebert says:

    It’s about peoples awareness, the stigma, the prejudice,the bigots,and the ones who don’t quite understand,those are the ones you should be addressing not me,I live with it,I see all the stigma around me and,it doesn’t go away.
    I thank God for my new friends,I’d be lost without them..

  3. This whole thing seems extremely sexist. You state upfront that HIV affects far, far more men than women yet there need to be special programs to reduce it among women?

    What about addressing what is probably the greatest gender health discrepancy in America? The fact that men die 5 years earlier than women on average in the USA is an absolute disgrace.

    Why not try addressing real problems equally instead of favoring one group?

  4. Outrageously sexist.

    Boys and men are clearly second class citizens in the US.

  5. Michael Steane says:

    290,000 victims out of 1.1 million are female? Thus the overwhelming majority are male.
    Why then, is this foucussing on women and girls? Do men not matter?

  6. Jimmy Jones says:

    If 23% of new HIV infections are female, then that must mean that 77% are male. Why are you putting such a focus on the women instead of men? This doesn’t make any sense and is counterproductive to the cause, you can’t possible think that by lowering 23% of infection rates you’ll solve the other 77%. This doesn’t make any sense. why do you keep mentioning women and girls? This isn’t a problem that only affects women and girls, it affects both genders equally, and should be treated as such.

  7. Benjamin Kingston says:

    If only 23% of new infections are women, doesn’t that leave 77% of new infections to men? I demand that we focus this on ALL new infections, not just those of women.

  8. Eric Noonan says:

    Circumcision as a means to HIV prevention/control MUST BE STOPPED for a few reasons
    1) Some people believe that being circumcised will protect them from infection and therefore engage in more risky behaviour
    2) The African studies in favor of circumcision to prevent HIV were flawed. The circumcised control group couldn’t even have sex for a large portion of the study because you can’t have sex right after a circumcision, and the circumcised group received more sex education counseling than the circumcised group.
    3) Anecdotal evidence shows proper sex education is the best way to stop HIV. Europe does not routinely circumcise and has a LOWER HIV infection rate than the United States. That means something. Proper sex education could also help the problems affecting women with regards to HIV.

    As someone who has been circumcised and is currently restoring their foreskin, I know that the foreskin serves sexual function that is not discussed at all by American doctors or the UN. Even though I’m not done, I can feel the difference in how my penis functions and can say that circumcision is nothing less than male genital mutilation and needs to be stopped. HIV needs to be prevented, but it needs to be prevented in a way that does not compromise normal male sexual function.

  9. Most of the people in the USA with HIV are men yet the US government wants to implement special programs to help women with HIV.

  10. richard vishon says:

    Most aids victims statistically are men. Why create a program solely for women? It’s discriminatory and shows how little our society thinks a man’s life is worth compared to a women’s.

  11. My son has HIV/AIDS and we have difficulty getting him treatment, we are not wealthy people. I know read that Government initiatives are exclude him and concentrate on women/girls, even though men are overwhelmingly the most affected. Mr Obama I voted for you both times, please don’t let me down we are desperate.

  12. “This Administration has made combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic a priority. For women, that includes addressing gender-based violence and gender related health disparities. This violence can increase the risks women and girls face of acquiring HIV while decreasing their ability to seek prevention, treatment, and health services.”

    This is deplorable, but not unexpected. Most of those infected with HIV are men, yet the administration would rather focus on women? This makes no sense. Nor does focusing on gender-based violence or women’s health when they already have the lion’s share of support as it stands. I can only conclude the administration would rather pander to women than actually tackle the hard issues, which is that men are becoming second class citizens in this country. Why else would you focus on women, who are the stark minority when it comes to HIV, as well as commit domestic violence about equally to men. And then there’s the fact boys are falling behind at every level of academia. Get your priorities straight!

  13. Jonathan Dean says:

    I would like to know if this HIV policy and related programs is gender neutral, meaning men would also be helped by these policies and programs. The reason I want to know is that Men seem to be the vast majority of people who have HIV and are also the vast majority of new cases of HIV according to your own findings.

    Of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, about 290,000 are women and women account for 23 percent of new HIV infections.

    This means that women currently account for about 26% of people with HIV/AIDS in the United States and account for 23% of new HIV infections meaning that the percentage of women becoming HIV infected is going down and the percentage of men becoming HIV infected is going up, if you are going to create policies or programs that benefits one gender over the other shouldn’t it be the gender that is being hurt more by this illness, though i would prefer those HIV/AIDS policy & Programs be gender neutral.

  14. This is sexist on every level. There are far more men who are HIV positive than women so I really don’t see how this makes any sense. If you aren’t doing the same thing specifically for men then you’re just pandering and don’t really care about solving the problem.

  15. Why are you focusing on a single gender? HIV/AIDS is not a gendered issue and people of both genders need help dealing with this.

  16. Toby Baumann says:

    How about you extend help to both genders.

  17. “Of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, about 290,000 are women and women account for 23 percent of new HIV infections.”

    what about the 77%, don’t they deserve to be treated as well???? or does having a penis mean they don’t count?

  18. There are more men in the world with HIV/AIDS Why do you wish to leave them out? Our fathers, brothers, and sons DESERVE to be treated like humans.

  19. Phil Ballbach says:

    “Of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, about 290,000 are women and women account for 23 percent of new HIV infections.”

    Why the particular focus on women when men account for the vast majority of HIV cases? Bizarre

  20. I don’t understand why you would discriminate by gender when AIDs does not. You are aware that most women will have sex with men at some point, right? Also, what does any of this have to do with violence against women?! Speaking of the elimination of gender-based health disparities, as you put it: I heard 77% of new HIV infections are male victims, and men die 6 years earlier than women. Please, tell me more about how women need this special treatment.

  21. HIV does not discriminate based on gender. Women and girls are not barred from entering clinical trials, and never have been. Our national HIV/AIDS programs should NOT focus on access to training, jobs and/or substance abuse. They have much higher priorities which they are presently struggling to meet.
    We need programs that focus on early detection and early treatment. But, because of foot-dragging in our national HIV/AIDS programs, we will have to wait for many years for the START study to produce significant and meaningful results to learn which treatment regimens have the least cost, least side effects, and best viral suppression over the long term. Only then will we have useful data on the drugs tested in the START study. This brings-up the most obvious problem with the HIV/AIDS programs of the last 30 years.
    We are NOT focused enough on early treatment. Early treatment would likely benefit ALL genders.
    We need the FDA to REQUIRE that all new HIV drugs be tested in young, healthy, recently HIV-infected patients to find the least expensive and least toxic treatments. We need a sub-set of these studies to run for many more years than the typical trial that approves a new anti-HIV treatment.
    We need the federal government to stand-up to cronyism.
    We need the FDA to verify that ALL generic anti-HIV drugs have the same potency of brand name anti-HIV drugs. How many drugs in the START study are generic? Cheaper treatment regimens would benefit ALL genders. When I tried generic AZT, I found that it did not work as well as brand name AZT. It didn’t taste the same. And it didn’t have anywhere near the same side effects – or main effect of suppressing HIV. The FDA appears to be failing us.
    After Dr. Julianna Lisziewicz presented positive data (at a 2001 ACTG meeting) on a therapeutic vaccine tested in monkeys, it took nearly a decade for the ACTG to test that vaccine in just a few people in a small pilot study. Yet, government insiders were much quicker at giving $1M to a Madison, WI, company (PowderJect) to test a ballistic (gold nanospheres covered with HIV, shot under the skin with compressed nitrogen gas) “therapeutic vaccine” – a technology that could likely be covertly used to infect people with HIV.
    In the 2001-2002 timeframe, Nobuto Yamamoto, Ph.D. et al cured 15 Japanese patients of their HIV infections using a human glycoprotein (GcMAF) that had been studied by the military for four decades. Both the military and the Japanese team of Nobuto Yamamoto, Ph.D. had received funding from the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). The news broke in 2006 at a Federation Of Clinical Immunologists Society (FOCIS) meeting that the Japanese team of Japanese-American Nobuto Yamamoto, Ph.D. had cured 15 Japanese patients. A full paper was published in 2009. Ten years later (after the patients were initially treated and cured) we have no follow-up by our national HIV/AIDS programs. It appears that our national HIV/AIDS programs don’t have a mandate, or the leadership, to end the pandemic.
    When a German doctor reported that he had cured Timothy Ray Brown of his HIV infection, using a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant with donor matched cells that had non-functional CCR5 receptors, US researchers refused to accept it. Are we to believe, 30 years into this pandemic, that we can’t determine when someone is infected with HIV (or cleared their HIV infection)? Why couldn’t the results of standard lab assays for HIV (drawn from peripheral blood) stand on their own merit? If the lab assays are that poor (or error prone), what is being done to improve them?
    Woman and girls have always been warmly welcomed in HIV clinical trials. It’s the goals of the clinical trials that may need redirection and/or better supervision/results.

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