CYWAG Statement: Respect Our Bodies and Rights
Released date: 28-May-2015
Respect Our Bodies and Our Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights
Globally, there are approximately 880 million adolescent girls (10-18) and young women (19–24) living with HIV. Adolescent girls and young women who remain vulnerable to new infection of HIV and continue to suffer from other sexual reproductive health challenges often do not have a voice or say on matters related to their bodies or health care.
Punitive and age restrictive laws and policies present barriers to young women accessing health services. Additionally Gender based violence and limited access to healthcare and education, coupled with systems and policies that do not address the needs of young people, are obstacles that block adolescent girls and young women from being able to protect themselves against HIV, particularly as they transition into adulthood. Of greater concern is the lack of clear data especially for HIV incidence and ART uptake for this population that can be used to make policy and program decisions that affect them.
On this year’s International Day of Action for women’s Health the ICW Chapter of Young Women Adolescent and Girls (CYWAG) demands that Governments should meaningfully Commit to addressing the needs of all adolescent girls and young women and ensure all our rights to decide freely upon all aspects of our bodies, our sexuality and our lives are free from discrimination, Coercion and violence.
We ask our Governments, partners, donors and all stakeholders to empower adolescent girls and young women living with HIV to enable meaningful participation in advocacy for improved access to HIV prevention and treatment interventions, increase demand and access to sexual reproductive health options and improve their quality of life.
The Chapter of Young Women Adolescents and Girls (CYWAG) is a global group, where young women living with HIV come together to share experiences and learn from each other. Hosted at The international community of Women living with HIV (ICW) the chapter gives young women a space where they are free to air their issues without intimidation; receive information from other members who are empowered and are able to empower the other members and give young women an opportunity to be part of a global network that has a foundation base of more than twenty years.
If you are a woman aged 30 years and below and living with HIV you are welcome to join our chapter.