By PATRICIA PEREZ
Today I know that peace is not merely the absence of war, is the absence of any kind of violence. Gender inequalities, differential access to health services and sexual violence make us vulnerable to HIV. Women -especially the poor areas- face barriers in access to prevention and treatment services, given its limited power of decision, lack of control over financial resources and the responsibility of caring for their children, something in countless countries and cultures is a responsibility only for them.
They have less information and fewer resources to take preventive measures. The vulnerability of women living with HIV is worsted by the stigma and discrimination that prevents them from asserting their rights and live in dignity.
With peace at homes there are possibilities to ensure sexual and reproductive health, and make joint decisions within the family about pregnancy and parenting, to live without experiencing violence from those who should protect them, without fear of communicate their diagnosis to their own families and finding the care they need.
Peace in neighborhoods and communities, means to live without stigma or discrimination without fear of seeing their friends and neighbors and benefit from local health services without worrying about people point them or avoid contact with their children and homes. When reigns peace in countries, the resources devoted to the war can be channeled to where they are really needed, towards health services and education.
When the international community recognize the importance of peace and their role to eliminate the conflict, poverty and inequality, we will see significant global changes in comprehensive and global response to the HIV epidemic, will reduce the number of people vulnerable to HIV, and those living with it will stop to feel they have to hide or lie about their HIV status to avoid punishment.
The Foundation More Peace, Less AIDS, whose subsidiary for the Americas will settle in Panama this 2013, and headquarter are located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, brings a culture opposed to the violence which generates prejudice, bigotry and inequality, finding here an opportunity to stop AIDS.
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