3 November 2009

HIV positive women in Cambodia prohibited to have children

In September, I traveled to the Philippines to deliver a lecture at the Women, Peace and Security: Visions for a New World conference.
Following the conference, a delegation of participants traveled to the conflict-affected area of Mindanao, located in the South of the Philippines.
We held a number of solidarity forums throughout the area, but one impression has stayed in my mind ever since.

In a forum attended by university students, one of the students asked us what we think of the situation of women in Cambodia, where the government has prohibited HIV positive women from having children. Control of population through controlling women’s reproductive rights was one of the main themes of the conference. I answered her by saying that nobody has the right to decide for a woman to have or not to have children, and that I believe women should have the choice to decide for themselves. This is yet another means of controlling our bodies, and it perpetuates the situation where women are perceived as irresponsible and not able to make decisions on their own. My answer was not received positively, but then one of the women from Kenya said that in her country, there is a program that trains HIV positive women who wish to have children on how not to transfer the virus to their babies once they are born. I think that her response made the students think about the issue, and I hope it will be an opening for their questioning authorities and not accepting governmental decisions without criticism.


  1. Hmmm. I am surprised that Univ students are sometimes closed to the 'real' issues. There are so many things we take for granted but then when I see women from different parts of the world being subject to cruelties, I just cannot stay in peace.

  2. wow khulud this is very intresting. how can they indeed avoid their babies to be born without hiv? tell me please


Comments are your footprints. I'll never know what impression you were left with if you don't leave any footprints behind you. Please share your thoughts. You're also welcome to drop me a personal line at khulud.kh@gmail.com