July 26, 2016

End gender based violence and HIV to ensure equity

Written by IPPF

This post originally appeared on IPPF’s website.

18 July, Durban: Gender Based Violence (GBV) must be recognised and addressed if we are to end HIV and AIDS urged the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) at a panel during the International AIDS Conference Monday.

The impact of HIV among women and girls in all their diversity is significant and alarming. Women’s greater physical vulnerability to HIV is compounded by social norms, gender inequalities, poverty and violence. Women living with HIV are also more likely to face stigmatisation, infertility, and even abuse and abandonment, contributing to their disempowerment.

In East and Southern Africa, the risk of HIV among women who have experienced violence maybe three times higher In Uganda and South Africa studies found women who experienced intimate partner violence were 50 per cent more likely to have HIV than women who had not experienced violence.

In many countries in Africa, getting married is among the ‘riskiest’ behaviour for women, where they may be exposed to unprotected sex with a husband who has multiple sexual partners, and to underlying power dynamics between men and women that prevent women from accessing condoms and then insisting on their use.

Julia Omondi, a 24 year old advocate from Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) highlighted the most common root causes of gender based violence and HIV, ‘I work with a group of 50 young girls like myself, called the 3E advocates to prevent girls from child marriage; support girls who are living with HIV to understand their rights, make parents and communities aware of the laws that protect girls from child marriage. We need to raise our voices to stop child marriage and turn the tide against HIV’.

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