3.5 Consultation for policy-makers on women and AIDS in preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women
As noted by Dr Merson in his opening statement, the purposes of this meeting are technical: the aim is to draw together and learn from positive experiences, not only to counter the doom and gloom that HIV/AIDS evokes, but to provide policy-makers with research findings and other evidence, and with sound strategies for HIV prevention in women, that they can then apply in their own countries. Many policy-makers remain unaware of the rapidly accelerating spread of HIV to women.
To address this issue, Dr D. Blake, Director, External Coordination and Mobilization, presented the goals and results of a meeting she convened from 6-8 February 1995. The broad objectives were to bring together policy-makers from different backgrounds in order to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in women, develop specific recommendations for policy-makers to implement at the national level, and draft recommendations vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS for the preparatory commission for the Fourth International Conference on Women.
Among the salient points discussed at the meeting were the need for increasing women’s ability to negotiate safe sex and for openly dealing with culturally specific issues regarding sex. It was emphasized that while preventing the spread of HIV to women in stable relationships is a new and urgent need, attention to commercial sex workers (and their clients) should not lessen. Concomitantly, a greater effort should be made to involve men. The group put forward twenty recommendations for the Conference in Beijing.
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