The impact of HIV and AIDS is disproportionately high in the developing world – home to 95 per cent of those living with the disease. AIDS is more than a health problem. It feeds a vicious cycle: Hunger and malnutrition can force people to dangerous behavior, for example women selling their bodies for food. At the same time, poor people infected with HIV are often too sick to work and earn an income. They often have neither the resources to pay for medical treatment nor the nutritious diet needed to tolerate the strong medication.
As we view HIV and AIDS not just as a health problem but as a cause and effect of poverty, we do more than simply treating a symptom. We aim to prevent infections by educating girls and boys on sexual and reproductive health. We make sure people have enough to eat and help them earn an income and have access to safe water. We provide access to services such as condoms, voluntary counseling and testing and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. We advocate for policy changes to reduce discrimination and improve health support. And we help commercial sex workers protect themselves from HIV infection – and from violent discrimination by police, clients and others.
Together we are strong: Through CARE’s support, women’s isolated voices are becoming one powerful song. Women affected by HIV and AIDS are speaking out for each other and forming empowered support groups. CARE gives women the power to teach others about the danger of AIDS and how the stigma associated with the disease can be surmounted within their own families and communities.