World AIDS Day and AAUW Fellows: When Research Meets Activism

November 30, 2012

December 1 marks the 25th annual World Aids Day. People around the world spend the day raising awareness about HIV and AIDS through education and activism. We also show our support for people living with HIV and AIDS and commemorate those who have died. The disease affects people of all ages, ethnicities, sexes, and sexual identities in every country and is the leading cause of death globally for women of reproductive age.

Melissa Browning

Melissa Browning

AAUW is proud to have many fellows and grantees whose work focuses on HIV and AIDS prevention, education, and care. In some parts of the world, women are disproportionately affected by the disease. In sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, for example, more than half of people living with HIV are women. According to the World Health Organization, “most people living with HIV or at risk for HIV do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure.” That is why the work done by researchers and activists is so critical. And we’re very proud of the 2012–13 AAUW fellows who are working on HIV and AIDS education and prevention.

Melissa Browning of Loyola University, Chicago, is an ordained Baptist minister who is writing about marriage, HIV, and AIDS in East Africa. She closely examines the relationship between social and religious teachings on female sexuality and abstinence and the realities women face in Africa. Browning’s research suggests that access to complete sexual health education and services would empower women and help decrease the spread of HIV and AIDS. For many women, sexual violence and power imbalances make it extremely difficult, if not dangerous, to negotiate condom use. Browning is working with churches and local groups in Tanzania to empower women and promote healthier marriages.

Eloho Tobrise, a geography doctoral student at the University of Washington, is doing

Eloho Tobrise

Eloho Tobrise

research on gender, HIV, and AIDS in rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa with particular focus on adolescent girls in secondary schools. She plans to develop an effective intervention model tailored to the unique needs of rural women in her native Nigeria.

Michelle Jimenez is a community health doctoral student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is doing research on health disparities in HIV risk shaped by socioeconomic and cultural determinants among people in the Dominican Republic. She is focusing on the effect of educational differentials on gender inequalities in HIV vulnerability. According to the 2011 U.N. World AIDS Day Report, young women in the Caribbean are more likely than young men to be infected with HIV.

Michelle Jimenez

Michelle Jimenez

HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment are global issues, and today is just another part of the movement. To get more information about World AIDS Day, how you can find a local testing center, and how you can show your support, check out the resources at aids.gov.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

AAUWguest By:   |   November 30, 2012

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