World AIDS Day 2017: Women Can't Wait
Today, as we commemorate World AIDS Day and celebrate the steady progress that has been made against the epidemic, 2,000 women will become infected with HIV. Tomorrow, another 2,000 women—many of them young women and girls living in sub-Saharan Africa—will join them. The next day, another 2,000. You get the picture.
The bottom line is that women bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death globally in women ages 15-44, and young women are at least twice as likely to become infected as young men.
But there is hope.
Hope that with sustained commitment and political will, we can expand access today to existing methods women can use to protect themselves, including newer products like daily oral PrEP. And hope that tomorrow we will provide more options that could empower women to protect their own sexual health.
Here at the International Partnership for Microbicides, we are driven by a belief that tomorrow’s solutions can’t come soon enough. Because women can’t wait.
Over and over, we hear from women that they want new and more prevention options that fit into the context of their lives. So, we are focused on developing a suite of woman-centered solutions designed to meet women’s sexual and reproductive health needs, which can change over time: whether with a discreet, long-acting vaginal ring that acts against HIV or a next-generation multipurpose tool that pulls double duty, preventing HIV and also serving as a contraceptive.
All of these products have one thing in common: they put women first.
Of course, no one type of product will solve the HIV epidemic. To end AIDS, we need a range of tools such as rectal microbicides, vaccines, injectables, implants and more.
With continued investment, there will come a World AIDS Day when women have all the prevention options they need to stay healthy, so they can thrive and lead productive lives, and their communities prosper as a result. You get the picture—and it’s a much better one.
From all of us at IPM, have a happy and healthy World AIDS Day.
The IPM team