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Burmese Women Need Awareness of AIDS Epidemic - 2002-12-08


United Nations marks World AIDS Day on December 1, 2002. UN AIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said 42 million people worldwide now have either AIDS or HIV and almost half of them are women.

According to the USAID report, there are 2.8 percent of pregnant women and girls between the age of 15 to 24, 30 to 50 percent of female sex workers and 74 percent of drug users are HIV/AIDS infected in Burma.

Dr. Khin Saw Win from Alberta, Canada said, “the high risk of spreading HIV/AIDS virus among Burmese women are at stake, because there are a lot of entertainment facilities, where men could easily get infected to become disease carriers for their wives.”

She added, “Moreover, women, who depend on husband’s income are either reluctant or dare not to say “No” to their husband. Some women also have financial problems and apparently ended up into sex trade. Most likely, women could be infected through blood transfusion during pregnancy or in labor. Women’s reproductive organs are also vulnerable to be infected sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, VD, etc.,”

This year United Nations adopted the slogan “Live and Let Live,” which Burmese interprets as live with dignity in society. Dr. Khin Saw Win agrees upon this interpretation as a compassion gesture for social stigma not to discriminate people with HIV/AIDS. People should encourage HIV/AIDS patients to look forward to be tough and strong instead of giving up hope.

Burmese military regime released a statement on four years plan for strategy to fight HIV/AIDS in Burma. She said, “It’s absurd to issue such statement as lip services rather than implementing good deed for people in poor health condition. They never mention how much money allocated to spend on this issue in such Statement."

She continues, "Burmese authorities always said they are on their own to take care of such crisis by themselves within their reach. Albeit asking money from international community to tackle these health problems, buying MIG Jet Fighters unnecessarily and spending millions of Foreign exchange in Defense expenditure. They should spend money on health and education, which are the most important sectors for our people.”

In conclusion Dr. Khin Saw Win said, “As per saying “Prevention is better than cure”, women need to be educated to value and protect themselves. In order to advocate the awareness of HIV/AIDS epidemic to public, we need freedom from all kinds of fear in our environment.”

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