The maternal mortality ratio is unacceptably high in Africa. Forty per cent of all pregnancy-related deaths worldwide occur in Africa. On average, over 7 women die per 1,000 live births. About 22,000 African women die each year from unsafe abortion, reflecting a high unmet need for contraception. Contraceptive use among women in union varies from 50 per cent in the southern sub-region to less than 10 per cent in middle and western Africa" UNFPA

Early and unwanted childbearing, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy-related illnesses and deaths account for a significant proportion of the burden of illness experienced by women in Africa. Gender-based violence is an influential factor negatively impacting on the sexual and reproductive health of one in every three women. Many are unable to control decisions to have sex or to negotiate safer sexual practices, placing them at great risk of disease and health complications.

According to UNAIDS, there is an estimated of 22.2 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan African in 2009, which represents 68% of the global HIV burden. Women are at higher risk than men to be infected by HIV, their vulnerability remains particulary high in the Sub-Saharan Africa and 76% of all HIV women in the world live in this region.

In almost all countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, the majority of people living with HIV are women, especially girls and women aged between 15-24. Not only are women more likely to become infected, they are more severely affected. Their income is likely to fall if an adult man loses his job and dies. Since formal support to women are very limited, they may have to give up some income-genrating activities or sacrifice school to take care of the sick relatives.

For more information on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive health, please visit the following websites:

Source: Plus News
The road to prevention methods based on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs is still fraught with challenges, but recent groundbreaking trial results from this promising new field offer greater hope than previous efforts.

Source: UN News Centre
A global plan launched today at the United Nations seeks to eliminate new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive, in an effort to save millions of lives across the developing world.

Source: Plus News
The rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission has fallen to 3.5 percent according to a national survey by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and researchers say the virtual elimination of vertical HIV transmission may now be possible by 2015.

Source: Womens Enews
Cameroon has pledged to reduce its maternal deaths by 75 percent from 1990 levels, but compared with that year, more women are now dying. Last year the government joined a regional campaign to accelerate progress on this key development goal.

In 1998, HIV/AIDS activist Gugu Dlamini was beaten to death near KwaMashu township outside Durban after publicly disclosing her HIV-positive status. Her death, an example of the depth of HIV stigma, shook South Africa. Dlamini’s death almost destroyed her daughter, Mandisa, who was just 13 years old when her mother died. Now 25, Mandisa spoke about her experience as part of this year’s Nkosi Johnson memorial lecture, named for South Africa’s youngest HIV activist who died in 2001, at the SA AIDS 2011 Conference.

Source: Huffington Post
We can end HIV/AIDS right now if we want to. We already know how. We know how it's transmitted; we know how to prevent and treat it. We're just not doing what it takes to end it.

Source: IRIN
South Africa's HIV/AIDS programme has come a long way from the dark days of denialism and deadly treatment delays. Francois Venter, chairman of the country's bi-annual HIV conference, SA AIDS 2011, gave IRIN/PlusNews five reasons to be happy about the country’s progress:

Source: People's Daily Online
Participants attend a United Nations Security Council meeting on "Impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic on international peace and security" at UN headquarters in New York, the United States, June 7, 2011.

Source: UN WOMEN
As world leaders gather at UN Headquarters in New York this week to chart the future course of the global AIDS response, UN Women is advocating for a robust response for those infected and affected by HIV — particularly women and girls.

Source: UN News Centre
Thirty First Ladies from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean joined forces today at the United Nations to mobilize support to achieve the goal of zero new HIV infections among children by 2015.

Source: UNFPA
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, will actively participate in this week’s global AIDS meeting by raising awareness of the heavy toll of HIV on women and young people, particularly young girls, and of the urgent need to address their special needs.

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