"Eradicating gender-based violence requires a comprehensive approach involving governments and all societies. But I believe that if leaders work hard to succeed, everyone will benefit: there will be less violence against women and girls, fewer women and girls will be infected with HIV, or they will fall victim to an imperfect antiretroviral therapy system. We need to radically change the way we do business in the field of AIDS. Gender equality and women's rights must be at the center. If we want to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health emergency by 2030, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to lose confidence and stop turning a blind eye to gender-based violence," said Winnie Bianima, executive director UN.
One third of women and adolescent girls worldwide are physically and (or) sexually abused by men, male partners or strangers. This violence takes place in their homes and neighborhoods, where they need to feel most safe. And this huge statistic does not take into account the millions of women and girls who have faced many other forms of gender-based violence and harmful practices. According to reports, during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of intimate partner violence, child and forced marriages, female genital surgery, and sexual violence only increased.
In countries with a high HIV prevalence, intimate partner violence can increase the likelihood of HIV infection for women by 50%. Violence or fear of it blocks women's access to services and prevents them from negotiating condom use with rapists, disclosing their HIV status, or continuing to receive HIV treatment.
Many women living with HIV also suffer from discrimination and sexual and reproductive rights violations in health care facilities. Sex workers, women drug users, as well as bisexuals and transgender people are at extremely high risk of contracting HIV, gender and sexual violence, largely due to stigma, discrimination and criminalization.
Five key actions:
- According to the UN General Assembly's Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, "Eradicating Inequality and Towards Eradicating AIDS by 2030", Ms. Bianima called on governments, UN organizations, sponsors, service providers and all stakeholders to respond to HIV. to immediately and systematically eliminate the link between HIV and violence against women and girls in all their diversity, including through follow-up.
- Understanding the basics: as a minimum, countries should adhere to international standards for the provision of health care to women and girls living with HIV or at increased risk of HIV infection by implementing measures to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in HIV-related services in including for women from key populations, and ensuring the protection of sexual and reproductive health and related rights.
- Early Prevention of HIV and Gender-Based Violence: Work with adolescents (girls and boys) to address harmful gender norms by investing in gender-responsive education and related activities, including comprehensive sex education, teaching students to respect physical caring for each other. consent, to go on safe dates and use condoms as the norm, and to ensure absolute intolerance of gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination against HIV.
- Encouraging men to use HIV-related services and more: HIV programs for men and boys should include gender-responsive approaches to combating harmful masculinity that contributes to the spread of HIV and violence against women and girls. Men and boys should be involved in HIV testing and treatment, and the need to respect women's sexual and reproductive health rights and their rights to be free from gender-based violence should be clarified. Ending impunity for violence against women and girls living with HIV: legal reforms and enforcement must be accelerated to protect the right of all women to live without violence, regardless of their HIV status or other factors, and the abuse of criminal laws aimed at or disproportionately affecting women on the basis of their sexuality, sexual activity, HIV status, gender or drug use. The legal literacy of women and girls living with HIV or at risk of HIV should be raised and informed about their rights and where to seek legal aid and justice. Access to grievance and redress mechanisms for gender-based violence and violations of reproductive rights in health and other services needs to be provided.
- Investing in women leaders who can change both HIV and gender-based violence: we need to establish mechanisms for the constructive participation and leadership of women and girls living with HIV and at risk of HIV infection, in all their diversity, with appropriate measures for a double pandemic of AIDS and violence against women and girls. It is necessary to invest in the feminist movement and programs to combat HIV led by women, as well as to appreciate their experience and knowledge, which are the basis of effective action in response to HIV.
Source: Исполнительный директор ЮНЭЙДС призывает действовать, чтобы переломить ситуацию с ВИЧ и насилием в отношении женщин и девочек