Sexual Health Exchange is a quarterly newsletter on HIV/AIDS and sexual health
in developing countries, aimed at professionals in the field of HIV/AIDS
prevention, care and support based in NGOs, CBOs, governmental organisations,
international NGOs and UN agencies. More information about Sexual Health
Exchange can be found below and on our website.
For its coming issue on girls and young women (No. 3, Fall 2004) we are
calling for articles and information. If you know someone who is a specialist
in one of the issues mentioned below or if you know a programme/project that
is considered a good practice in your country, please send contact details and
a short description of the programme to the editor.
If you would like to submit an article yourself (max. 1200 words), please read
the information below and send a short outline (max. 200 words) to the editor
explaining who you are and what will be the proposed topic of your article. If
you have any information in electronic form about your organisation, programme
or thematic interests, please feel free to include it.
Deadline for outlines is 15 April, deadline for articles 15 May 2004.
Girls and young women:
Although at the global level as many women as men are living with HIV, in
several regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, over 50% of those
living with HIV are women. Young women and girls are especially vulnerable to
HIV infection. At the moment, two-third of newly infected individuals are
young people and among them, almost two-third are young women aged 15-24
years. This means that some 43% of all newly infected people are women below
the age of 25. This is one of the reasons UNAIDS has chosen women and girls as
its focus for the 2004 World AIDS Campaign. 2004 is also the year that
organisations and meetings worldwide are taking stock of progress in the
implementation of the ICPD Plan of Action, which was developed ten years ago
during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in
Cairo. The ICPD was a landmark conference as it stated loud and clear that
sexual and reproductive health is a human right and that access to sexuality
and reproduction-related information and services should be made available to
everybody, including women and adolescent girls.
Several factors contribute to the vulnerability of girls and young women to
HIV/AIDS, among which:
physical immaturity, which promotes STI infection;
young age of sexual debut and marriage;
lack of basic education;
lack of information on safer sex;
lack of access to protective measures and lack of power to discuss
large age differences between sexually active girls and their partners;
economic necessity to have unprotected sex with older, wealthy males ( Sugar
sexual violence, containing sexual abuse, coerced sex, rape, female genital
mutilation and sexual exploitation.
The high HIV prevalence and incidence among young women show that existing HIV
prevention and protection efforts are failing to stem infections among them.
Because of their lack of social and economic power, many women and girls are
unable to negotiate relationships based on abstinence, faithfulness and use of
condoms. Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that a lot of sexual
contacts between girls and their partners take place in an environment of
violence, (peer) pressure, and economic instability. What can be done to stem
the tide? What are successful strategies to address the vulnerability factors
This issue of Sexual Health Exchange aims to illustrate the complexity of HIV
prevention for girls on the one hand, and show examples of successful and
inspiring policies, approaches and programmes on the other hand.
The forthcoming issue:
Please note that we have two main categories: Special Articles (focusing on
issues/problems and examples/solutions) and Programme Features (focusing on
concrete programmes/projects and their lessons learned).
Examples of possible articles in each category are:
Special Articles: Changes in attitudes towards child marriage in a certain
region or country - promising approaches in increasing access to reproductive
health care and information for girls - forced sex (e.g., date rape ) as a
cultural phenomenon and how to involve boys in its elimination - influencing
family gender socialisation by a certain programme in a certain country - the
Sugar Daddy phenomenon and what can be done about it - successful girl-focused
peer education approaches - state of affairs regarding female genital
mutilation in general or in a certain country - trafficking of girls for
prostitution and how it can be tackled - a successful national strategy in
addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights of one of its components,
Programme Features, descriptions of well-working programmes of sufficient
scope and scale that are perceived by others as good practices: girl-friendly
integrated reproductive health services - a school-based sexual violence
prevention programme - sexual counselling for young married couples - a
theatre performance or TV show to address young boys attitudes towards girls
and sex - the role and achievements of a certain NGO in addressing one of the
issues mentioned above, etc.
Deadline for outlines: 15 April 2004
Deadline for article submission: 15 May 2004
I look forward receiving your outlines and advice!
Nel van Beelen
Editor Sexual Health Exchange
Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)
Dept. Information and Library Services
PO Box 95001
1090 HA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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