J.M. Spectar

Document Type


First Page



The AIDS pandemic is exacting a heavy toll on women and girls in developing countries. The collusion of myriad social and cultural forces at the epicenter of the pandemic, to the detriment of women's health, heightens the need for an international focus on women's human rights and HIV / AIDS. It appears there is an inextricable nexus between certain socio-cultural practices and women's vulnerability to HIV / AIDS. Further, there is mounting evidence that women's vulnerability to disease is exacerbated by governmental policies that condone or institutionalize the marginalization of women. Yet, despite its multifarious causes, catalysts and consequences, the AIDS pandemic, like the Hydra of ancient lore, can be vanquished. Humankind can, and must, marshal a Herculean effort to defeat this global threat to women's health and well being. In this article, the author argues that to be successful, the campaign against AIDS must adopt a holistic approach to women's health that reflects an awareness of the interlocking structural and contextual determinants affecting the actualization of the right to health.