Women, HIV and AIDS in Zambia

The feminisation of HIV and AIDS

  • 14.3% of the Zambian adult population is estimated to be infected with the HIV virus
  • It is estimated that 1.6% (82,681 people) of the Zambian adult population are newly infected with HIV each year
  • For every two people who start antiretroviral therapy, an estimated five more become newly infected with the virus
  • The prevalence rate for women is 16.1% and 12.3% for men
  • The feminisation of HIV and AIDS is perpetuated by GBV, failure to negotiate condom use and limited economic opportunities for women

AIDS or no AIDS, women and men are essentially equal. Making that equality a lived reality is a major challenge for every individual, community, institution and country. The epidemic has highlighted the tragedies that gender inequality can bring in its wake. But it also points to the need for wholesale transformation of the social, economic, legal and political structures of society to put an end to practices and attitudes that offend the dignity of women and men alike. Here, as in the sphere of poverty, the epidemic acts as a catalyst, calling on people and institutions across the world to create a more just society, characterised by respect for the basic principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights

– Michael J. Kelly SJ (2010)