Placing the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women

Gender, development, and HIV/AIDS: Implications for child mortality in less industrialized countries

From International Journal of Comparative Sociology

HIV/AIDS continue to have a devastating toll on less industrialized societies, According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) (2007) there were an estimated 2.1 million deaths from HIV/AIDS and 2.9 million new HIV infections in 2007 to bring the world total up to 33.2 million people living with the disease.

This article considers the significance of gender for where the disease is most concentrated. Female prevalence rates are growing in every region of the world with the worse being sub-Saharan Africa where women com­prise almost 61 percent of adults living with HIV. UNAIDS estimated 96 percent of new HIV infections are in developing countries. The findings of this study demonstrate in these areas female empowerment and gender equality decrease the prevalence of child mortality through the infection. This empowerment refers to a movement to include women as part of the dialogue on policy and practice and specifically to the availability to the medication women can take to prevent the spread of the disease. The research reveals the need for grassroots movements and gender-friendly development programs that empower women and contribute to human security and the overall well-being of society.

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Abstract

This article examines child well-being in less industrialized societies through a gender and development perspective. Using a quantitative, cross-national analysis of data from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) among other sources, I find that child HIV/AIDS infections and adult female prevalence of the disease increase child mortality while female empowerment and gender equality decrease its prevalence. In addition, an interaction between female empowerment and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the adult population also reduces mortality, revealing the significance of gender for where the disease is more concentrated. Findings are net of controls for economic development, population pressure, democratization, economic globalization, child health, child hunger, and region. The global realities of HIV/AIDS reveal the need for increasingly undertaking cross-national analysis of the disease and issues of gender, development, and women’s contributions to human security.

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Article details:

Scanlan, S. (2010). Gender, development, and HIV/AIDS: Implications for child mortality in less industrialized countries International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 51 (3), 211-232 DOI: 10.1177/0020715210363458


     
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