Priorities for South African women in the new NSP
As South Africa forges ahead with the development of the country’s next five year plan for HIV, STIs and TB, we must acknowledge the gendered nature of the epidemic. We cannot afford NOT to prioritise and target the response towards women, and young women in particular who are the most vulnerable.
The SANAC women’s sector has taken a pro-active approach to ensuring that women’s voices and priorities from around the country are documented and put forward for consideration in the Plan. The sector conceptualised and hosted a two-day summit from the 03rd to the 4th of November 2016 in Ekurhuleni. This summit provided a safe environment for women representing all nine provinces to deliberate on priorities for women and to conduct an introspection of the functionality and accountability of the sector to support the implementation of the NSP.
The following were their recommendations of priorities for inclusion in the NSP:
- Clear continuum of care for HIV negative women
- Gender transformative education in schools
- Pairing of prevention with education and community empowerment
- Information sharing of new prevention technologies with women on the ground
- Treatment adherence programmes nuanced to women’s needs
- PrEP to be offered to all HIV negative women
- National and intensive programmes on stigma and discrimination
- Gender based violence and economic empowerment programmes to be given as much weight as prevention and treatment programmes
- Strengthen capacity and accountability of AIDS councils and sectors at the provincial, district and local level to coordinate and implement the NSP
The women’s summit strongly advocated for prevention as the best weapon against the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the need for this to be front and centre in the NSP 2017-2022. The women’s sector called for increased access to, availability of and more education around the consistent and correct use of female condoms.