The United Nations University (UNU) plans to hold a one-day HIV/AIDS seminar Tuesday, aimed at helping international academic institutions conduct research that could lead to halting the epidemic's devastating trail across Africa.
"As you know an estimated 25 million people today in Africa are infected by HIV/AIDS," David Sahn, International Professor of Economics at Cornell University, said at the press briefing Monday.
"This accounts for somewhere in the order of some two-thirds of the number of adults inflicted with this horrible disease globally," he added.
He also noted that while some progress had been made in combating the disease, some 3 million women are infected annually in sub-Saharan Africa.
Experts speaking at the The Social and Economic Dimensions of HIV/AIDS in Africa symposium, organized in partnership with Cornell University, have stated that African women carry a disproportionate share of the disease.
They also say that women's lives are affected by social and cultural norms that lead to stigmas and discrimination and help to spread the epidemic.
Many women lack family and community support networks, undermining their ability to take preventative action and seek treatment.
"Women in Africa have little voice in sexual and reproductive choices and rely on healthcare systems that are often insensitive to their needs and vulnerabilities," according to a press release from the symposium organizers.
Included in the topics to be addressed by experts at the meeting is the link between HIV/AIDS, poverty, reproduction, sexual health and behavior as well as approaches to future research and action.
(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2008)