The health of a nation begins with a healthy mother

In the global health and development field, no one can dispute the importance of mothers.

For success, most people often depend on the crucial role that mothers play in their families and communities. And when it comes to taking care and nursing unfortunate children with HIV/AIDS, mothers are absolutely essential.
The majority of new paediatric HIV infections occurs when a mother unknowingly passes the virus to her baby during pregnancy, labour or breastfeeding.
The tragedy is that when HIV tests and medicines are available, almost 100 percent of these infections are preventable.
One of the most important jobs we can do is to help preserve the health of the mothers living with the virus and empower them to care for their children and families as well.
They (mothers) should not be seen as clients and patients when they are visiting clinics and pharmacies – they are an important stakeholder in an effort to curb paediatric HIV/AIDS, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 90 percent of new paediatric infections occur.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic statistics indicate that 50 percent of the world population of those living with HIV ‑ almost 60 percent of HIV sufferers in sub-Sahara Africa ‑ are women.
Many women in developing countries do not have many choices about sexual decisions; they cannot even decide on the use of a condom to prevent AIDS.
Women are often expected to do as they are told and they never make demands of their male partners. In many cases women forced into prostitution where HIV is widespread.
Many men do not seem to be worried about the HIV/AIDS pandemic while it is a major concern for most women.
Though women would like to protect themselves from contracting HIV, many have little access to condoms or other barrier methods.
HIV is also widespread among young girls in sub-Saharan Africa. Sexual abuse is also a major problem facing these young women, with many contracting HIV from their abusers – men.
Often these girls are not aware they have been exposed to the virus until they reach adulthood.
Therefore, I believe that the health of a nation begins with the health of a mother and that the struggle against HIV/AIDS requires a far greater focus on women.
While governments are trying to step in and help these women, HIV is not something that can be fought by force.
This AIDS pandemic must be stopped by knowledge, not force.
Most governments agree it is every individual’s choice to get tested, including the women.
HIV testing, however, will not stop the spread of AIDS. Women must know the test results of their partners. The AIDS pandemic requires the sharing of information in order to be brought under control.
In conclusion, let me tell you that the AIDS pandemic is going to require a major change in culture for women to stop it. The AIDS pandemic will also require many governments to work together to raise funding and awareness.
While the AIDS pandemic may not be stopped in a day, the hope that one day it will be a distant memory remains.

March 2013
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