Women for Positive Action Launches HIV-HCV Educational Tool to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2015

Women for Positive Action Launches HIV-HCV Educational Tool to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2015

shutterstock_130218290Last March 8 was International Women’s Day, and to commemorate the occasion, Women for Positive Action launched an informative, practical and new educational tool called ‘Hepatitis and confection in women living with HIV. Women for Positive Action is conducted by a global and multidisciplinary team of experts committed to addressing the specific worries of every woman living with HIV. This new tool offers information that educates and empowers those co-infected and offers practical references to the professionals that participate in their care (download here).

In co-infected individuals, immunosuppression causes adverse effects since it greatly accelerates the existence of both cirrhosis and liver cancer. The patients’ emotional well-being is highly affected by treatment’s complexity, the double stigma of co-infection and the inherent risks of side effects.

The complexity of treatment, the stigma of co-infection and the risk of side effects are known to cause unfavorable effects on the emotional well-being of patients, and this can be even more difficult to deal with in many women fighting to balance and manage their work and family commitments.

“I have been struggling with HIV for years and when I finally got stabilized on HAART, I feared I would die from my liver because of hepatitis C. I failed HCV [Hepatitis C Virus] treatment two times and had to cope with unbearable side effects. Right when I was desperate that I would die from cirrhosis, I got cured thanks to the new HCV drugs — it was like being born a second time,” stated a woman that was recently cured of HCV.

The scenario with HCV has shifted considerably in the last years with the accessibility of treatments that cater to a large proportion of patients. However, many high risk groups of women are still left behind. This tool will educate and provide support to those caring for women co-infected through practical guidance and by responding to their necessities regarding treatment, pregnancy planning, emotional well-being and accessibility to care. This tool is also intended to raise awareness among women, promote their inclusion in research and improve their access to care in this modern era of HCV treatments.

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Isaura Santos graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies from University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). Her professional interests include science communication, public awareness of science and communication of science through entertainment.

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