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The impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic is felt hardest by the individuals who are infected or affected by the disease, and in particular by individuals who are especially vulnerable to HIV infection due to stigma and discrimination, poverty, a lack of access to education, health and other services that promote HIV awareness. However, the impact of HIV and AIDS goes beyond the individual or household level – it affects nations as a whole. …
The HIV burden on women is dramatically higher in some regions, certain age groups and among marginalized groups, such as female sex workers. Women’s vulnerability to HIV is exacerbated by gender inequality and domestic violence. The global effort towards elimination of paediatric HIV and keeping mothers alive deserves applause. However, the needs of women go beyond their child-bearing age or potentials and/or reproductive desires and must be recognized in the global HIV agenda. In particular, more female-controlled prevention tools are urgently required to allow women to protect themselves.
This is a compilation of stories about the lives of women living with HIV in the Asia-Pacific region (Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, THaïland, China, India, Malaysia, Viet Nam). Each woman has overcome incredible challenges to become a strong leader, advocate and role model for other HIV-positive women. These women are like diamonds, formed under immense pressure, hewn from the darkness to shine, strongest and most brilliant of all gems.