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Who Cares?

The Economics of Dignity

image of Who Cares?
At the centre of the HIV/AIDS response are the 12 million people who need care and treatment. Those who are ill require support from carers who provide physical, social and psychological support. Yet these carers – essential actors in the response – are often invisible to the system that relies on them.



The writers argue that focusing on the carer, at the household level, directs assistance where it is most effective and most needed, will respect human rights, and will help achieve the millennium development goals in health.

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Dignity Overdue: National HIV Strategies and Unpaid Carers' Rights

It has become a truism that national strategic plans have, for the most part, been gender blind. This has meant that women have only appeared in them as pregnant women in prevention of vertical transmission programmes (in the attempt to identify HIV-positive mothers and ensure babies are not born HIV-positive), as sex workers and as youth. Otherwise women and girls are mostly invisible and their contribution goes unrecognised, including their work as unpaid carers. Yet there is a pattern to the way in which even these responses treat women that is telling as national HIV prevention and treatment strategies continue to rely on stereotyped perceptions of women’s sexualities even as they attempt to strike a balance between ‘containing’ women in the interests of public health and recognising women’s needs and interests given the realities of gender inequality, poverty, powerlessness and violence in their daily lives.

English

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