UNAIDS Sees ‘Second Wave’ of HIV Epidemic in PH as COVID-19 Blocks Access to Services
CNN, Philippines, 7/7/2020
The Philippines is facing a second wave of HIV epidemic as Covid-19 blocks access to life-saving testing and treatment services, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS said on July 7, 2020. UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Eamonn Murphy, said the second wave of the HIV epidemic is particularly targeting young men who have sex with other men and transgender people. To address the problem, Murphy said, countries need to find innovative solutions such as delivering PrEP and testing kits to people and online counselling. A report released by UNAIDS on July 6, 2020 warned that the number of HIV infections will continue to rise if there are no renewed response efforts amid the pandemic’s disruptions to HIV-related services.
Kenya Orders Probe into Rise in Violence Against Women and Girls During Pandemic
Reuters - Nairobi, Kenya, 7/6/2020
Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President on July 6, 2020 ordered an investigation into rising reports of violence against women and girls – including rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage – as a result of coronavirus restrictions. He directed the National Crime Research Centre to prepare an advisory to security agencies on remedial action within 30 days. According to women’s rights groups, social and economic strains, compounded by strict limits on movement, have not only made women and girls more prone to physical and sexual violence, but also more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Local media reports have also suggested there has been a spike in teenage pregnancies, with one county reporting more than 4,000 cases of early pregnancies since schools closed in March, 2020.
Zimbabwe: Women in Mining Communities Fail to Access Contraceptives Due to Lockdown Restrictions
All Africa, Zimbabwe, 7/5/2020
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Environment Law Association (ZELA) gender and extractive symposium, women participants said women in mining communities faced challenges such as failure to access contraceptives due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, which has placed them at the risk of having unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The participants said that in most mining communities, only male condoms are available as a form of contraceptive and the women are unable to force their partners to use them. The women participants added that the other challenge in mining communities was that a high number of girls would fail to return to school later in July, 2020 as they had become pregnant during the four-month closure of schools.
CAPF Okays Transgender Persons’ Hiring
Hindustan Times - New Delhi, India, 7/4/2020
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on July 1, 2020 sought the views of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to add transgender as the third gender category in relevant application forms ahead of the annual examination for recruiting assistant commandants to be held in December, 2020. In a letter sent over a month ago, the MHA had asked the personnel departments of the Central Industrial Security Force and Indo-Tibet Border Police for their views on the matter, which are expected to respond soon. Vidya Rajput, a member of the Chhattisgarh Transgender Welfare Board, said that while the news was welcome, additional seats for transgender persons must be created across all government posts.
Outrage as Indian Judge Calls Alleged Rape Victim ‘Unbecoming’
BBC - New Delhi, India, 7/3/2020
Granting bail to a rape accused recently, Justice Krishna S Dixit of the Karnataka High Court said he found the victim’s statement “a bit difficult to believe”. Justice Dixit went on to ask why the woman did “not object to consuming drinks with him”. The judge added that her explanation that she was tired after the rape and fell asleep is “unbecoming of an Indian woman”. In response to his remarks, outraged civil liberties activists, writers and journalists asked if there was a ‘guide’ or ‘rulebook’ to being a rape victim. Madhu Bhushan, a women’s rights activist in Bangalore, said the language in the court order normalised sexual violence and enforced the idea that rape is the victim’s fault.