Poverty responsible for high HIV infection among women

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A gender activist Lumba Siyanga has
attributed the high number of women infected with HIV and AIDS in
Zambia to high poverty levels affecting the womenfolk .

Ms. Siyanga, who is also former national coordinator for Forum for
African Women Educationist in Zambia (FAWEZA), said the women were the
most vulnerable because of their weak status in terms of negotiating
for safer sex habits.

She told ZANIS in an interview that reports indicate that Western
Province is the most hit province in Zambia because the province is
the poorest in the country.

She has since suggested that government and other cooperating partners
should find solution of reducing high poverty levels in the country in
order to serve the women.

Ms. Siyanga further appealed to government to put deliberate policies
which will address poverty especially in the Western part of Zambia.

She stressed that failure to reduce high poverty levels involving
women in Zambia, HIV/AIDS will not be reduced.

She pointed out that women do not have power to say no for sex demands
from their husbands even in times when a husband is HIV positive.

And Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) chairperson Felistus
Chipako said her organisation will step up information dissemination
to the women about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.

Ms. Chipako has since called on government, health institutions and
other international organisations assisting in the fight against
HIV/AIDS to double their efforts if the scourge is to be reduced.

She also stated that the increase in gender based violence and other
crimes against women were some of the contributing factors to the high
number of women infected with HIV.

Ms. Chipako also said ZAMWA was doing its best to educate women on how
to prevent themselves from acquiring HIV /AIDS.

She also attributed the increase in women being infected with the
virus to rape and defilement cases which are on the rise in the

Ms. Chipako has meanwhile said ZAMWA has done a commendable job in
educating female pupils on the dangers of early sex.


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