June 15 marked the start of the annual FHI Gender 360 Summit. This two-day conference provided the development and humanitarian communities a glance of the advancements and stagnation’s in the major aid receiving countries. There were breakout groups, called Gender Lounges, for the topic “Creating and Enabling Environment to Advance Adolescent Empowerment and Leadership for Gender Equality”.I was fortunate enough to participate in the round table discussion on HIV prevention and transmission awareness among youth.
The discussed re informed medicine is best identified as PReP, a pill that is used to prevent HIV- free individuals from contracting HIV as well as to prevent the spread of the disease from HIV positive . PReP is currently not being used by the expected beneficiaries (i.e.adolescent girls and boys) but instead is used by older women and gay men. A plausible reason for the apparent usage within the older population is the ability to pay the higher fee for the pill. The PRep pill costs $13,000 per year on average, varying by country. Most of the pill’s recipients have health insurance or some type of health coverage; for the recipients who do not have the ability of access to this new technology they are expected to pay an annual fee of $70 a year until the pill has been paid for in total.
Raising awareness is one of the more challenging tasks in combating the spread of HIV. In many of these global communities it is not deemed imperative to address the causes and effects of contracting HIV, nor how contraction can be prevented. Tradition and culture are the leading reasons why there is a challenge in properly educating adolescent girls and boys on the importance of practicing safe sex. In defense many countries often argue that when a girl has had unprotected sex with an older man in her community she has now become a woman. The danger is know who is willing to protect this young girl from starting a dangerous communal spread of the virus.
One of the ways to decrease the high STD/STI rates would be to integrate female and male advisers into the community, to help inform community members on ways to practice safe sex without feeling like there is a tension between tradition or their own personal well being. In order make this transition they must maintain an inclusive mindset to be able to cater to each individuals needs. Hopefully this method along with many others will help reduce the global HIV rate 500,000 by 2030.
Below are some helpful links to better understand the goal to reduce the HIV rate by 2030.