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Latin American and U.S. Latina Women Unite to Demand Access to the Female Condom
Date:12/1/2008

World AIDS Day Statement Highlights Women's Unmet Needs for HIV Prevention, Calls on Governments to Increase Investment in Family Planning Methods

(Para tener acceso a una copia completa de la declaracion en castellano, vaya al sitio www.preventionnow.net.)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- An international coalition of organizations that represent Latin American women and Latina women in the United States is demanding increased access to the female condom as an essential strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.

The 37-member coalition, which includes 28 organizations from 11 Latin American nations and 9 Latina advocacy and service organizations from the U.S., has released a World AIDS Day statement that calls on governments and international donors to step up their investment in programs that distribute the female condom and educate women and men on its use.

"The female condom is a critical tool that holds many important advantages for women and their partners. But global distribution of the female condom remains astonishingly low fifteen years after it was introduced," said Dr. Carmen Valenzuela-Dall, a Guatemalan physician and a senior associate at the Washington-based Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE).

Dr. Valenzuela noted that the female condom can play an important role in strengthening HIV prevention at a time when HIV/AIDS is increasingly becoming a women's pandemic. Women now account for one-third of all people living with HIV/AIDS in Latin America, and Latina women in the U.S. represent sixteen percent of all new HIV infections, a rate that is four times the rate for non-Latina white women.

"The need for HIV prevention that women can initiate is an issue that transcends borders," said Yolanda Rodriguez-Escobar of Mujeres Unidas Contra el SIDA in San Antonio Texas. "The
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SOURCE Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
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