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December 1st, The World Aids Day, as an event, was conceived in 1988. While it is a stand-alone event, it is also part of the 16 days Campaign for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Infection is often a component of violence done to women and children, and is a human rights issue. The UNAIDS Webpage, a portal to a wealth of information on HIV/AIDS, has the following announcement:

With “Universal Access and Human Rights” being the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, the key slogans are:

* I am accepted.

* I am safe.

* I am getting treatment.

* I am well.

* I am living my rights.

* Everyone deserves to live their rights.

* Right to Live.

* Right to Health.

* Access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is a critical part of human rights.

Among a series of events, tonight in New York the following ceremony will be held:

UNAIDS – World AIDS Day – “Lights for Rights”

When: Tuesday, December 1 – 6:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. (EST)

Where: Washington Square Park, New York City (5th Avenue at Washington Square Park North)

A stage will be set up between the arch and the fountain.

[The lights on the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch in New York City will be turned off during the event to remember those lost to AIDS and to symbolize how HIV stigma drives people with HIV into the shadows. After a brief period of darkness, the lights will turned back on to emphasize need to shine the light on human rights for those living with HIV/AIDS around the globe. Floodlights on the Empire State Building, clearly visible through the arch, will also be turned off and turned back on at the same time….]

Almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic and 25 million have died. While the trend line of new infections has started to turn, new infections worldwide still outstrip treatment. For every two people beginning treatment, five new cases of infection are ascertained.

As to children, 14 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa are now orphaned. Only 37% of infected children in low and middle-income countries are receiving treatment.

The UNAIDS  knowledge center link HERE, is a wonderful overview of The UN’s program on HIV/AIDS.

Clicking on the UNAIDS link entitled AIDS Epidemic Update 2009, a report and fact sheet, as well as an outlook for 2010, that are very informative.

In addition, there is a page with “Fast facts about HIV”.

In California, a conference was held today on the budget cuts that are affecting the funding for AIDS programs, including California’s “AIDS Drug Assistance Program” (ADAP). Since these budget cuts will literally determine who lives and who does not, continuation of funding is critically important for at least 30,000 patients. At the same time concern over the rising cost of drugs is creating anger. Between 2000-2008 drug costs under this program raised 165%, yet only increased patient numbers by 49%. See the report below:

http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/b48023/california%E2%80%99s-aids-drug-cuts-%E2%80%98life-or-death%E2%80%99-for-patients

California’s Office of Aids (COA), responsible for coordinating state programs, service and Activities relating to HIV/AIDS,

has a webpage devoted to HIV/AIDS, HERE.

Although they state that they are in the process of converting their statistics to comply with CDC requirements, they do have some statistics through April. According to them, throughout the country, HIV was not counted with AIDS from the beginning of the epidemic. Those changes are being made now?!? In any event, a pdf download indicates that while confidential AIDS Case reporting by name began in 1983, reporting procedures have changed over time. Code name only reporting, for HIV, enjoyed a brief period from 2002-2006. HIV surveillance reporting began in 2005, and HIV name reporting in 2006.

AIDS in California is continuing to climb, with 153,901 cases reported. HIV cases appear to be flattening at 41,1555, or 36,412 depending on which reporting method was used. One is loath to make assumptions on this figure however, since, rather than an actual flattening is could reflect our current recession and reflect reduced medical resources available to individuals.

Judging by the COA’s maps, HIV/AIDS is still a disease of the cities, with urban counties, like Los Angeles highest, then San Diego and San Francisco, then Alameda and Sacramento reporting the highest numbers for the 2009 year through April. Again, however, this data might also reflect better facilities and reporting methods.

It is still primarily a disease of white and black men/adolescents, although the 13,230 women/adolescents who were reported probably find cold comfort in this. Of that figure 6,273 reported infection due to sex with men. 669 pediatric cases and 400 pediatric deaths were reported.

In light of our current economy, and without health reform, it seems clear many more will suffer.  In Senate bill H.R. 3590, I found seven occurrences where the bill discusses HIV/AIDS. All but one of them refer to education and training. The other refers to research. So I am unclear at this point exactly where the money will come from that will actually help support state programs for drugs, or supplant them. Is HIV/AIDS one of those pre-existing conditions that will be folded into the entire program? The upcoming Senate debate will certainly be interesting in this regard.

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Update: in case you don’t get to the comment section on this post, Swarna Rajagopalan has provided a WordPress link to Prajnya Trust’s list of their activities for the 16 days campaign HERE.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

“Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes – whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called “honour” crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting. We must address the roots of this violence by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message for the International Day for the

Elimination of VIolence against Women

25 November 2009

November 25th marked the 10th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The attendant 16 days campaign dedicated to the elimination of violence against women, is marked by a series of events hosted around the world. The international Theme is “Commit, Act, Demand”.

At Rutger’s Center for Women’s Global Leadership, organizations offering specific websites have been featured for their efforts in the elimination of violence against women. Rutger’s supporting theme is to “Take back the Tech”. The idea is to use median and the internet to revitalize and catalyze and engage the world against violence to women. The sites below are in English unless otherwise specified.

Brazil –

The “AGENDE” (in Portuguese) site could be found using Yahoo, not Google. They have had active yearly campaigns since 2003.

India –

The “Prajnya Trust” has chronicled it’s campaign against violence to women. I had trouble loading it directly but you can reach it by going first to the Prajnya Trust website HERE. If you are searching for resonance in your belief for a knowledge based, peaceful, diverse and democratic world, you will find it on the “More About” page of Prajnya.

International –

The “World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters” (French, also English and Spanish) was also found through Yahoo. They state that “Community radio producers from Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean will dedicat(e) their 16 days campaign to highlight the effort of women and men working to put an end to gender violence

International –

“Save Darfur” has produced a list of actions to take for each day of the 16 days campaign. Today’s for November 30th asks that you write a letter to your editor telling them about the 16 days campaign, the violence in the Sudan and urging others in your community to get involved.

Ireland –

Women’s Aid”  has been working to address women’s issues for 30 years. They set up a WordPress blog for just this event. In addition to other actions, they have developed a reading list of books that they believe pertain to the issue of violence against women.

Mongolia –

The “National Center Against Violence” has bee operating since 1997. The have begun a “white ribbon” distribution campaign to men to encourage them to take a personal stance against violence. In addition to other activities, on the 29th, they distributed information regarding “Human Rights Day’ and the work of women in this field.

Uganda –

The “Gender Based Violence Prevention Network” again found by Yahoo, has it’s own 16 days campaign. They state that over 35 member organizations are participating in activities and providing information kits.

So, what’s happening in your neighborhood?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline might be one place to check out.

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I’ll have more in a bit, but the vote to cloture just ended and the Senate has passed it’s first hurdle. After debating whether to debate the bill they now agree, that they will. (I know, it seems redundant, but this is how this goes. The Senate had to decide if they and the bill were ready.)

Today’s debate over whether to introduce the Senate Health bill to the Floor, illustrates the circuitous route a bill sometimes takes. HR 3590 is a case in point.

HR 3590, was entitled “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes”. It was agreed to and sent to the Senate for consideration on Oct 8th of this year. The two page document can be seen HERE.

The Senate then ordered the document to lie on the table. The bill was amended using AMDT. NO. 2786. The document’s title was revised to  the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, the original contents removed, and the Senate’s 479  page  health care platform was inserted.

Also see the previous related posts :

Senate Health Debate May Begin Soon

More Info on H.R. 3962

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The ninth anniversary, on Oct 31st, 2009, of UN Resolution 1325, dedicated to women peace and security, was marked this year by a series of events starting with open debate at the UN Security Council and leading up to adoption of the  “Third Resolution On Women, Peace & Security, SCR 1888″.

As is usual, a report of the Secretary General, in preparation of the debate was delivered on dated Sept 16, 2009. #S/2009/465, Entitled “Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security”, HERE, is an 18 page document outlining events, conclusions and recommendations relating to how women last year, in various places around the globe, were affected by war, it’s aftermath, and the difficulties of finding a voice. I encourage you read it.

WomenWatch has a webpage HERE, devoted to information about this important global resolution directed toward the advancement of peace and security for women. It’s section entitled “Background to Resolution 1325, From the UN Charter to Security Council Resolution 1325” provides a wonderful synopsis of the path taken from the beginning of the UN, to the resolution’s adoption.

The geographic area of United States is not technically in a theater of war. Therefore, the events that happened last year in places like Somalia or Afghanistan do not apply to us. However, one cannot help but find resonance in some of the actions that are taken against women in our country. Deliberate destruction of medical supplies and measles vaccinations targeted for women and children strike a chord with unequal medical treatment provided here. Gang rape as an act of war, an old enemy of women, as well as men and children, is not too far off from the gang rape that occurs in our streets. Many countries around the world now have better representation of women in government than we.

The Security Council reports that there is an absence of “a clear monitoring mechanism” for implementation of 1325, therefore, it has continued to play a strong advocacy role. Part of this problem may relate to it’s own difficulty in promoting women to positions, such as higher council levels and monitoring, which in turn relates to how successful the member countries have been at providing them.

In any event, sixteen countries have thus far made an effort toward advocacy of women’s goals by developing national action plans. They are Austria, Belgium, Chile, Côte d’Ivorie, Denmark. Finland, Iceland, Liberia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Plans of Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Nepal were reported to be under development.

So despite the fact that that we are permanent members of the Council, we have not so far produced a national action plan. Not us. Nowhere in the report are we mentioned. Yep, that’s global leadership! Now it’s true that we just had an election and we have some new blood[1] [2] staffing the upper levels of the Security Council. I take the UN’s point, however, if we want to lead, that we must do a better job of achieving gender parity. We must be willing to develop our own national action plan.  In doing so we will see the similarities.


[1] Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Adoption of a UNSC Resolution to Combat Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

 

[2] Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, during a Security Council Debate on Women, Peace, and Security, in the Security Council Chamber

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Update: Senator Boxer has just sent an email stating the STUPAK AMENDMENT NOT INCLUDED IN THE SENATE BILL! She is asking to petition signers to help prevent the amendment from being included once the debate starts. Here is her petition page:

http://action.barbaraboxer.com/page/s/fightforwomen?source=ffwh_bulletins

Politico.com reports Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will vote to begin debate, leaving them only one shy.

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Last week I found this older item in the BBC news. I had thought to do a little post around it. I would ask, what is religion, and how is it defined? Is it defined as Abrahamic, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Iranian, Kurdish, Western, Folk or Far Eastern? Or do we take the religious edifice we have constructed, break it into shards, pick up one to admire and kick at the rest?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8327636.stm

After asking those questions, (more…)

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ERA TODAY!!!

On December 3rd, the United Nations as part of the “30th Anniversary Celebration Event” will hold a global celebration recognizing the adoption of “Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women”(CEDAW) in 1979. I don’t know if you recall, but the United States, in it’s “great” role as a women’s rights advocate, still hasn’t ratified this UN measure.

Briefly, CEDAW treaty signers (more…)

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