Tuesday, December 12, 2006

HIV/AIDS: Azerbaijanis' Attitudes and Knowledge Explored

There has been growing concern about HIV/AIDS in the South Caucasus. But what kind of knowledge and attitudes about the disease exist in the region? By using data from the CRRC 2004 Data Initiative (DI) and conducting focus groups Gulshan Tagiyeva analyzed the knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS in Azerbaijan.

Based on the results from 2004 CRRC DI survey, the fellow showed that the population in Azerbaijan is less informed about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases than Georgians and Armenians. Additionally, a large percentage of Azerbaijanis, particularly women, are unsure about how people become infected with HIV/AIDS. There is also very low social acceptance of those who are HIV positive. For example, of respondents in Baku only 8.9 % do not mind doing business and 5 % being friends with people who have HIV/AIDS (2004 CRRC survey).

This research demonstrates more work clearly needs to be done in Azerbaijan to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and social acceptance of those who have HIV/AIDS, particularly among women. The author has drafted a manual (in Azeri) to help promote AIDS education. Her report and a presentation (both in Azeri) can also be downloaded.

1 comment:

Anirudha Alam said...

AIDS Prevention Spotlighted by Gender Mainstreaming

Anirudha Alam

Spread of HIV/AIDS results in risk of losing forms of social and economic protection. There is no doubt that onslaught of HIV/AIDS is closely associated with gender inequality and poor respect for the rights of women. So to mitigate the multiple impacts of epidemic, gender mainstreaming should be significantly integrated into HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Eventually, HIV prevention and impact mitigation policy will be able to make the realization of gender equality one of the most important strategies.

Gender mainstreaming for HIV/AIDS is to ensure gender equality in all policies, programs and activities that it would be possible to keep the epidemic in bay. It is the most efficient and equitable means for using existing resources with a view to combating HIV/AIDS internalizing need based approach. At a rough estimate since the beginning of the epidemic, over 10 million women have died from HIV/AIDS-resulted illness. 48 per cent of adults newly affected by HIV/AIDS in 2001 were certainly women. The fact that lack of gender mainstreaming along with domination of social stigma and discrimination creates a tremendous barrier to women making them unable to adopt HIV risk-reducing behavior.

Social stigma and gender discrimination engulf series of possibilities to reduce vulnerability to HIV/AIDS successively. The enhanced poverty and developmental decline nourished by gender inequality may make women and girls engaged in risky sexual behavior in lieu of getting money, food and other facilities. Having lack of enough access to quality treatment and care, then they fall into enormous vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) one after another.

As per the finding of Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation, 95 per cent adolescent girls of Bangladesh are drastically vulnerable to HIV/AIDS because of their paltry access to necessary information for protecting their reproductive health. Due to their poverty at the levels of awareness, skill, knowledge, attitude and practice all along, they are being more vulnerable consecutively. When they are enough adult they are not able to ensure their role as potential manpower in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating pro-gender programs and projects.

Considering all the situations related to sexual behavior, social attitudes and praxis, financial empowerment and so on, there are in-depth differences between men’s and women’s access to information, prevention, treatment and care-giving supports. It is much more common in all cultures that commitments for guiding sexual behavior and sexual health are being threatened by gender discrimination. If women and girls have not qualitative reproductive health literacy HIV/AIDS will be turned into as the greatest social problem in developing countries. According to the findings of UNAIDS, as of December 2000, ninety five per cent of all AIDS cases have occurred in developing countries.

Through promoting, facilitating and supporting the implementation of gender mainstreaming, AIDS prevention should be brought about under the spotlight of women empowerment. Gender mainstreaming and women empowerment are obviously complementary strategies. So the strategy of gender mainstreaming within HIV/AIDS prevention should be outlined that women empowerment is ensured.

Ref: UNAIDS, World Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, UNESCO

Anirudha Alam
Deputy Director
(Information & Development Communication)
BEES (Bangladesh Extension Education Services)
183, Lane 2, Eastern Road, New DOHS
Mohakhali, Dhaka 1206

Phone: 8801718342876, 88028050514 (res.)
E-mail: anirudha.alam@gmail.com
Website: http://anirudha-alam.blogspot.com