Dear friends ,
thank you for sharing with me your own experience concerning the situation of women and girls as far as HIV/AIDS is concerned. my worry mostly is because women form the backbone of our economy, especially at the rural level. the life of their family depends almost entirely on them. most women have averagely 3 children.
with such a position in the soceity it is dangerous if this group has to be affected to this level.
the government is doing alot in this area of health by opening up centres incharge of HIV/AIDS awareness, the church is not leaving any stone unturned in the preaching about abstinence.
at the community level, i together with some health experts always visit women and youth social and cultural groups to sensitize them.
we also target children of secondary and primary school age, laying more emphasis on the girls.
if this continues, we are certain the figures shall roll back.
It most be noted that poverty and illiteracy stand out to be the sole causes of the alarming figures.
Good day,
Constance

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Comment by EPHRAIM on January 26, 2010 at 6:02pm
Dear Constance.
Thanks for this interesting topic.
From the biological point of view, women are more vulnerable to HIV than men but i think abstinence should be preached and also encouraging the women to advice their sexual partners to use condoms everytime. It is worthnoting that the female condom has just been put on the Cameroonian market by a local NGO.
To those who are infected, there is a lot of hope. Eat well and leave a normal life.
Best regards
Comment by MariJo on January 22, 2010 at 3:41pm
Dear Constance,
Thank you very much for sharing with us your concerns about the women in your place. I totally agree with you in that women are the backbone of a very important part of the life of humanity everywhere, and unfortunately this important role is not well acknowledged and appreciated by society in general and even by ourselves at times.

In my experience, either my own and the women I have been working with, it is not only the information that we get about possible risks what helps us stay away from those. As Laurence says, providing education and information about HIV is an important thing to be done, and I am sure that it will contribute to prevent some women from getting infected, but in the end, it is our own strengths what we need to put to work. It is the women's strengths what they need to identify and trust so that real change can occur.

When you start thinking of yourself as the motor of your own life, when you can look at yourself/your group as part of the solution and not as just the problem, when you trust your own capacity to find solutions together with your peers and put those solutions into action, when you are able to identify by yourself what kind of help you are needing and ask for it. Then, you will start considering yourself agent of your life and feeling that you are worthy. I could see this as being the most powerful motor to action.

When I was diagnosed HIV+, at the very beginning, the doctor who was in charge told me that I needed not worry about anything because I had little time left and she advised me that I took that little time to 'travel', that is to waste it without doing anything. Instead, I decided to go to an HIV NGO and see what was there that I could do. There, I found other positive women who had been dealing with HIV for longer that myself, I found a group of women reflecting on what to do next, learning of each other, planning for the future (even when the future seemed very short). And specially, I found that my experiences were a wealth from which I and others could profit. This is to say that when people are in a hard situation they can give as much (or more) as what they are supposed to need. And being allowed to give makes us enjoy the feeling of being rich.

Again, thank you for sharing with us.
MariJo
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on January 22, 2010 at 2:27pm
Dear Constance,

Thanks a lot for giving more background information about the situation in Cameroon and the vulnerability of women. We, sisters, have to support each other across the globe. We all share similar vulnerabilities and strengths, hopes and concerns. I feel touched by the suffering of women in Cameroon.

Of course, women should be well informed about the risks related to HIV, at a young age. What you do in schools and with youth groups is very important. At the same time, how do you encourage women to take action by themselves? To support one another like sisters? To work together as 'a team' with their husbands and boyfriends to keep HIV out of the house?

Thanks,

Laurence

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