March 13, 2017
Written by Linda-Gail Bekker and Anthony S. Fauci
This article originally appeared on STAT News.
There is a saying in South Africa: Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo. You strike the women, you strike the rock.
On International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the strong women who have always been at the heart of fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For more than 35 years, women have modeled strength and resilience as researchers, nurses and physicians, caregivers, volunteers, advocates, social workers, and community leaders.
As the HIV/AIDS pandemic unfolded, women also became one of the most affected populations. Women now represent half of the people living with HIV around the world.
To end this pandemic, women are advancing research on the front lines as scientists in laboratories and clinics and as leaders of large, international clinical trial efforts. Women are also making a difference in clinics around the world as participants in clinical trials, volunteering to help us better understand and fight the disease, one person at a time.
Women are setting examples, breaking down barriers, and demonstrating the value that inclusivity brings in scientific research. Because of their efforts, more trials will ensure that the unique biology of women is taken into account as new HIV treatment and prevention tools are developed, tested, and ultimately used by both sexes.