A recent study on Women’s Access to HIV and AIDS treatment in Sierra Leone commissioned by Action Aid International Sierra Leone (AAISL) indicates that the majority of women living with HIV and AIDS (WLWHA) are married.
The 75 pages report stated that 32% of married women have HIV and AIDS, widowed women due to HIV accounts for 27% of the respondents. Single women rank second highest with 31% whilst divorced women comprise of 10%.
The study maintained that about half the women 51% reached have never gone to school; secondary and primary school levels account for 24% and 22 % respectively; and only 4% of them have benefited from tertiary education.
About half of WLWHA are engaged in petty trading 49%; one third of them 31% reported being unemployed. This figure may be high if you take into consideration that 17% of the women who reported to be house wives will take up employment if they have opportunities to earn income, the study revealed.
The study reached 238 WLWHA demographic and social of respondents revealed that more women in ages 20-29 (32%) were reached compared to other age groups. The least group reached is 45 years and above (9%); 21% of ages 15-19 and 20% of ages 30-34 of the sample; women in ages 35-45 comprise 18%.
The study revealed findings relate to Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing (VCCT), treatment access and adherence and women’s access sexual and reproductive health.It disclosed that initially only private medical professionals provided Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) for their clients in 2004. Now Antiretroviral (ARV) is free of charge in 84 treatment centres nationwde.The study further revealed that currently treatment coverage is estimated at 35% reaching approximately 2,946 out of the estimated 8000 persons needing treatment.The study recommends that the government of Sierra Leone should sustain availability of free ARV drugs while closely monitoring logistics management system.