Monday, April 7, 2008

HIV/AIDS Report

Despite progress in treating children with AIDS and preventing HIV transmission, a report (pdf) that was jointly released by UNICEF, WHO, and UNAIDS says significant steps remain in order to slow the AIDS epidemic. The report identifies several factors that often hinder prevention and treatment efforts: “Poor geographical service reach, aggravated by weak health systems, and the fear, stigma and denial that discourage many women from being tested for HIV are significant barriers to wider coverage. Community mobilization and family support, especially from men… remain urgent priorities.” Not surprisingly, the report also stresses that additional resources are needed for prevention, treatment, and the development of new and current HIV/AIDS initiatives.

The impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic extends from the individual to the global level. Children are often born with the virus or have lost one or both parents to the infection. Others are forced to carry a social stigma and may face discrimination and abuse in their daily lives.

Anthropologists working in HIV/AIDS afflicted communities may highlight the difficulties faced by individuals living with the infection. Such insight may be used to educate communities and address social problems that result from (mis)perceptions about the infection.

Is there a particular facet of this issue that deserves more attention? How can anthropologists bring attention to HIV/AIDS related issues? Readers are encouraged to comment on what they believe anthropologists can do to fight HIV/AIDS, promote research, and advocate for the rights of infected individuals.

UN News Center Article

UNICEF Press Release

AIDS & Anthropology Research Group