Dec. 2-8, 2008
Recognizing World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day was yesterday, Dec. 1, and it marked the day’s 20th anniversary. In recognition, we share statistics and resources in News: Analysis.
And don't miss our Advocacy Action Alert in support of the International Violence Against Women Act. As we work to prevent violence, we also help prevent the spread of HIV through sexual assault and sex trafficking. To stop these pandemics, we must all work together.
Christiane Amanpour will host her own daily prime-time news show on CNN International starting next year. Amanpour, a renowned international reporter, says she will continue to travel for the show—as she has to countless nations to tell the stories of “seemingly every war, genocide, famine and natural disaster,” according to The New York Times. The show’s format and name are yet undecided, though CNN has publicly announced it will air the show on CNN’s flagship station only on weekends. Amanpour, a British citizen who grew up in Iran, was a speaker at our 19th Annual Luncheon in 2004. Congratulations to Amanpour for being recognized as a leading—and marketable—expert on international issues.
World AIDS Day
The Global Campaign for Microbicides, which works to accelerate access to new HIV prevention options, released a new fact sheet (PDF) on women and HIV/AIDS globally:
- Of the approximately 6,800 people who become infected with HIV every day, half are women.
- Women are biologically more vulnerable to infection and its consequences—they are at least twice as likely as men to contract HIV from unprotected intercourse.
- HIV risk escalates among adolescent girls because of their physical vulnerability and their susceptibility to rape, forced marriage, trafficking, economic dependence and coercion.
- Microbicides are a new type of product being developed that people, especially women, could use vaginally or rectally to protect themselves from HIV and possibly other sexually transmitted infections. Unlike condoms, microbicides could put control over HIV prevention into women’s hands. (The Tuesday Blast will soon have more about a microbicide drug trial taking place in Chicago.)
HIV/AIDS among U.S. women also deserves attention:
- HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death for black women ages 25-34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent figures (PDF) from 2004. (The Census category of “black” includes African American heritage but is also broader.)
- Census data from that report also show that, together, African American and Hispanic women—24 percent of U.S. women—accounted for 82 percent of AIDS diagnoses among women in 2005.
- About 80 percent of women’s HIV infections stem from heterosexual contact, Women’s eNews reports. The story says that HIV advocates are calling the U.S. to task for not addressing the growing AIDS pandemic, especially among women of color. As one advocate says, "women are still falling through the cracks."
Locally, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago will host an Advocacy Priority-Setting Meeting for the Service Providers Council Policy/Advocacy Committee 2009 (PDF). The 4-6 p.m. meeting is Thurs., Dec. 11 at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, 411 S. Wells, 2nd Floor. Everyone is welcome, from HIV advocates and service providers to HIV-positive individuals and all other allies.
In other news
A woman who won a date with a man through a radio contest is suing the station for promoting the man, who raped her on the date. Waukegan radio station WXLC held a contest at a local bar to find a woman to date Gurnee man Travis Harvey, whom the station called a “great guy” and “kind.” As a single dad, he had no time to find a date himself, the station said. The winning woman and victim, who is suing for damages as Jane Doe, says that Harvey asked her to skip the Chicago House of Blues as planned and have the date at his home, where he then drugged her drink and raped her. Harvey pled guilty to criminal sexual abuse and received probation, the Chicago Tribune reports. Harvey had two prior convictions for violating a domestic violence order of protection taken out by a different woman. The civil suit alleges that WXLC “was negligent for not checking Harvey’s record, and for promoting him as a safe—and desirable—date,” the Tribune says.
The story: The Chicago Tribune reports on a cancer milestone: “For the first time, the recorded rate of new cancer cases has fallen for both men and women,” according to detailed statistical analysis published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Between 1999 and 2006, diagnoses for many types of cancer—including breast, lung and colon—fell about 0.8 percent annually, among all ethnic groups. While many experts celebrated the news as a sign that cancer prevention is working, some noted that this decline may reflect a decrease in screenings for both breast and prostate cancer. In addition, rates may continue to fall as the economy worsens and people have less access to preventive health care.
What’s missing: There is more to be said about breast cancer and women. First, it was only a few weeks ago that a report showed that African American women in Cook County are dying from breast cancer at 116 percent the rate of white women. After this news broke, Chicago Foundation for Women wrote to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger on behalf of the Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services. We asked Stroger to support allocating half of the 1 percent sales tax increase to the county health system, in order to help end health care disparities and restore lost services. Add these local problems to the Census data from the past few years, which show that the uninsured population is growing nationally, hitting an all-time high in 2006. (In 2007 the insurance rate went up only due to increased government-sponsored care.) This especially affects women, who are more likely than men to rely on a spouse’s employer for insurance and more likely to face bankruptcy from medical costs, as we found in a commissioned report on uninsured Illinois women in May 2007. In Illinois we do have a statewide program that gives all uninsured women over age 35 free screenings for breast and cervical cancer, and free treatment if diagnosed. We suggest that these figures and resources are cited next time a cancer story is reported.
Letters of intent for the Irene Bayrach Anti-Violence Legacy Fund (PDF) and The Sophia Fund for Advocacy (PDF) are due 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 9, 2009. Find out more on our Apply for a Grant page.
Firebelly Design is accepting applications for their annual Design + Marketing Grant until 5 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 5 – click here for more information and a link to the application.
Job opening: You can still apply for the 2009 Jessica Eve Patt Internship (PDF). Read the job description and send all inquiries to the contact information enclosed.
Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at cfw.org.
ACTION: Stop violence against women worldwide
2009 will be a new year and a new Congress. Seize this opportunity to address gender-based violence: Act now: Ask your U.S. Representatives to support the International Violence Against Women Act, or IVAWA, when the 111th Congress convenes in January 2009.
Why IVAWA? Violence against women is a crime and a worldwide pandemic—at least one out of three women worldwide is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime.
How can I help? You can make a stand by urging your representative to cosponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) (HR 5927)—which Chicago Foundation for Women supports. This past year, IVAWA received support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. When IVAWA is re-introduced, we need the support to be even stronger.
What would IVAWA mean for women and girls worldwide?
- Increased efforts to prevent violence against women during conflict and in humanitarian settings
- Increased pressure to find perpetrators and bring them to justice
- Strengthened capacity of women’s organizations working to bring such perpetrators of violence to justice
- Increased opportunities for women, free from violence, to seek testing or treatment for HIV/AIDS or disclose their HIV status without fear
- Increased economic and educational opportunities that would reduce the vulnerability of women at risk of violence
Speak out against the horrors suffered by women around the world. Begin reaching out now—ask your representatives to support the International Violence against Women Act.
Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.
Our website calendar lists all our programs, events and cosponsorships.
In the spotlight
JAN. 9 (Fri.): Grantees: Letter of intent deadline for Bayrach and Sophia funds, 5 p.m.
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