Around Africa and in Kenya, women and girls are at the highest risk of HIV infection. UNAIDS reports that new infections is increasing more rapidly among young women aged between 15-24 yrs than their male counterparts. Some of the contributing factors to the above scenario is because:
- They are powerless in decisions to have sex or use a condom.
- Women who are married and faithful to their husbands are at risk of HIV infection as their husbands might have extra marital affairs and neglect to use a condom or get infected through injecting drugs.
- They may experience violence in their relationships with men that result in unwanted or coerced sexual intercourse. 20 – 25% of women report that their first sexual experience involved physical force.
- Women and girls have greater biological susceptibility to HIV infection. Male to female transmission of the virus is twice as likely as female to male. Tear and lesions, resulting from forced sexual encounters, increase the likelihood of HIV transmission, especially among young women and girls.
- Women and girls face social and economic inequities that reduce access to education, prevention and treatment services and increase the likelihood that they will marry at a young age.
- Poor girls are often unable to access education which decreases their access to productive employment.
- They are often denied the protection of property and inheritance rights.
- A young woman’s HIV infection or death of husband may leave her without a home and unable to support herself and children.
- Without job skills – or the opportunity to acquire skills- women and girls may resort to commercial sex to provide for themselves and their families greatly heightening the risk of contracting HIV virus.
PDI has emberged on working with adolescent girls in its Hiv awareness and prevention effort a critical gap that continues to be seen in the area of sustainable livelihood for young women vulnerable to HIV/AIDs infection . The holistic approach to prevention for the young women vulnerable to HIV infection, in our opinion should address the economic livelihoods, survival and self reliance of the young women especially in urban slums where disparities always compromise on prevention of infections and re-infections for many of the women.
Our prevention, treatment, care and support interventions include:
- Community behavior change and advocacy sensitizations.
- Counseling and emotional support
- Educational Support
- Hygiene education support
- Life skills trainings
- Community Involvement and Sensitization.
- Economic Empowerment