Civil Society for HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN) join the world to commemurate this year’s International Women’s day,
CISHAN recognises that women are worse affected by the HIV epidemic, yet there has been slow progress with research and development of HIV prevention tools that are in the control of women.
It was therefore heartening to learn about the results of the open-label HOPE and DREAM trials presented at the 25th Annual CROI Conference at Boston USA.
The high rate of uptake, high rates of use, and the HIV infection rates of less than half of what would otherwise have been anticipated makes it feasible to develop a truly female controlled option for HIV prevention.
With ongoing plans to develop this product in South Africa, we at CISHAN are dedicated to ensuring speedly licensure of use of the vagina ring for HIV prevention for women who are worst affected by the HIV epidemic in Nigeria.
It is also good to see the continued push for more enrolment of women in HIV prevention and treatment studies so that we can better understand how biologies and the social context of the lives of women impact their use, adherence and reaction to HIV related products.
Consistently over the last several decades, we are getting to know more about the gender differences in the way we use, react and respond HIV products. In view of this, CISHAN joins the global call to encourage scientists to find ways of ensuring equitable female enrolment in HIV treatment and prevention studies; and to report their research findings in ways that ensure disaggregation of results by gender.
CISHAN’s call to action
On the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health to eliminate the user fees associated with HIV treatment access. The user fees makes HIV treatment less accessible to a lot more women thereby entrenching disparity in treatment access by gender.
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS and PEPFAR_Nigeria to institute measures to facilitate access of women and girls – a nationally acknowledged population for HIV infection – to pre-exposure prophylaxis. As PrEP access is scale up, access of women and young girls to PrEP should be prioritized.
To all stakeholders addressing HIV infection control in Adolescents and young women in Nigeria to include programmes that prevents and or manage rape as structural interventions for the population. Rape is a real threat to the possible gains in made with HIV control among adolescents and young women.
Interventions addressing rape and other forms of gender based violence needs to be made more visible than it is currently.