(7) 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence: GABRIELA-USA Celebrates World Aids Day on Day 7 of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

GABRIELA-USA Celebrates World Aids Day on Day 7 of  the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

Contact: Donna Denina
Vice Chair Mass Campaigns
Pinay sa Seattle – Gabriela USA

Today, member organizations of Gabriela USA celebrate World AIDS Day as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. December 1st marks the 22nd year in celebration of World AIDS DAY, the most recognized health related issue affecting more than 33 million people globally. Half of those infected with the autoimmune deficiency are women, about 15 million.

Women and young girls of marginalized populations are at particularly high risk because of issues that infringe on their human rights including violence against women, sexual and reproductive rights and education, gender inequities, forced sterilization, and inadequate access to basic health care and services. The health and wellbeing of women is essential to the success of overcoming this global epidemic which has often overlooked the needs of women.

For women in the Philippines, economic hardship and poverty drives women and young girls into sexual labor making them vulnerable to contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI). Additionally, increased migration of overseas workers, making them already vulnerable to abuse and violence, impedes on their access to basic health care when in the host country.

Currently a comprehensive reproductive health (RH) bill filed by the Gabriela Women’s Partylist, is being deliberated in both the House and Senate for the 15th Congress. Proponents opposed to the bill continue to uphold conservative feudal values which disempower women to choose alternative methods of contraception and decide on the health and well being of their own bodies. The Philippine government continues to erroneously promote the bill as merely a form of “population control” which is flawed and misleading.

Lana Linaban of GABRIELA states, “The government’s premise that overpopulation is the cause of poverty, a framework being peddled and funded by the US government, puts the blame on individuals, particularly women, and rationalizes the imposition of birth control methods regardless of the detrimental effects on women’s health… Reproductive health is a right and it is the government’s responsibility to uphold and ensure this.”

In light of the campaign to help solve the worlds HIV/AIDS epidemic, the women of Gabriela USA will continue to place the rights and welfare of women at the forefront issues related to health and reproductive rights, continue to raise awareness of these issues, and fight for the overall emancipation of all women free from violence and oppression.