During my recent travel to Vienna to attend the AIDS 2010 Conference i had plenty to learn,both good and shocking news!

In Sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts two-thirds of the world's HIV-positive population, 60 percent of people living with HIV are women. In the Caribbean and the Middle East, women are more than 50 percent of the HIV-positive population.I was then to learn that the most affected still remain women,who are as well the real drivers of homes and communities.

Another shocking news is that 80-90 percent of HIV Positive people still do not know their status.I then begin to question if we can count advocacy work as being successful.First,i want to look at it from the point of view of information,which is basic.Once we are infomed on the benefits of prevention,in my opinion we should know where we head to as individuals first,then as communities and nations.If i am not tested,it means i do not know my status.Then what do i do in prevention? Do i prevent myself from catching the virus or do i prevent spreading it? If i am not sure of what i am doing then i have a tripple task,including that of having to guess my status.

Thw world is advocating for a stop to AIDS.This will work better if communities go for testing.Even though,we should be able to recognize that no form of Stigmatization should be there and that every person has their right to confidentiality.This has been a major obstacle in the road towards the fight of HIV.With all the stigma that surrounds it,one would rather not know their status and remain 'safe'.

Countries that criminalize transmission of HIV are fighting against the fight.It is wrong to transmit HIV knowingly.On the other hand,is it safe not to know your status so that you are not criminalized when this happens.To my surprise this is also practised in developed countries such as Canada.It takes two to tango.The fight will be victorious if and when all parties are involved.It has also been proved that those who end up behind the bars are from minority communities.

HIV and AIDS is a universal epidemic.It requires a universal attack!

Leah Auma Okey. Reporting from facts gathered at the AIDS 2010 Conference.

Comment on this Post


Welldone sister, this is really shocking news that more than 80-90 percent of HIV Positive people still do not know their status yet many HIV NGO sprang up daily and the available news and jingle today is mainly on testing....can we say we are deaf or still afraid of the outcomes, My sympathy with women all over the world who are cannot negotiate sex with husbands, or tell them to protect themselves before sex even when we know that our husbands are promiscuous, and the funniest thing is that women are always of being promiscuous forgetting THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS IN WHICH ONE CAN BE EFFECTED.

My daily prayer is that there should be solution to all these diseases, that God will open those working on these areas to find a very lasting solution as the solution to malaria was found years back, and may we work together in unity to achieve these and more for the world.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Thank you for your comments Olutosin.Women have little power over protective sex negotiations.As we all know the female condom is a rare commodity in Africa.The male one dominates.It means the man still holds the power to use it or not! For crying out loud we are 20 years behind and we gotta go!

Can i hear more of your voice,sister?

Love, Leah.

Like Olutosin, it is shocking to read that "80-90 percent of HIV positive people still do not know their status". As you say, it is impossible to stop the spread of AIDS when so few know they have it and therefore do nothing to prevent it being spread. We must remove the stigma, employ better testing and provide healthcare education for everyone so that together, we can stop this epidemic. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts about the conference.

Salamu za upendo, Janice

Thank you,Janice,The old strategies for testing and awareness worked as much as they did.New ones need to get into place.We wont let our voices be drowned so we shall move forward.Asante dada for your timely comments.

Nakupnda dada yangu, Leah.

My Own mum passed from HIV AIDS complications. I have a daughter with disability, and this year I set out to Fight for the rights of women like myself. You are a true inspiration and a living example. And just to think about women like me with HIV AIDS, it is a tipple strategy. We haven't set out large but given some thought, a special platform for action for mothers, with another crafted out program for the ones infeted by HIV because I can only imagine their situation. Good work.