News / Africa

UN: Ending Gender Violence Key to Ending HIV/AIDS

Tonderai Kanyere waits for his results after he was tested for HIV and AIDS in Harare, June 22, 2012.
Tonderai Kanyere waits for his results after he was tested for HIV and AIDS in Harare, June 22, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
Research conducted by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, revealed that half of all people living with HIV are women, and that ending gender-based violence is critical to ending HIV/AIDS. The agency said that a key part of conquering both sexual violence and HIV/AIDS is to include men in initiatives where the goal is to end violence against women and to empower them.

UNAIDS director Mariangela Simao explained that violence against women translates to sexual violence, and like a domino effect, sexual violence can lead to women contracting HIV/AIDS.  She said their research showed that in many cases, the first sexual experience for an adolescent girl is through sexual violence which often evolves into more violent acts on them.

"There are other forms of violence that could make women a higher risk of HIV infection," said Simao. "For example, in stable partnerships where domestic violence is a reality, and many times the partner has multiple partnerships outside the marriage. Also, violent contacts make it harder for women to negotiate condom use."

The UNAIDS official noted conditions that potentially lead to sexual violence exist not just in countries experiencing ethnic and political conflicts. For example, in many cultures, violence against women is acceptable, making it difficult for women to take action against it. Victims are afraid to take action for fear of stigmatization and more violence against them. For women, a key to empowering women is education.

"Education helps, but it doesn’t mean that all women who are submitted to violence are uneducated, because that is not true. Gender equality measures, or programs put in place can help decrease the vulnerability to gender based violence and consequently, in the case of sexual violence, the vulnerability to an HIV infection," she said.

Financial dependency is also a risk factor for women who are continually submitted to gender-based violence. That’s because they lack the opportunities to get out of the situation. It is vital that their husbands, partners, brothers and sons become a part of the solution in empowering them.

"In the case of men, we have many initiatives around the world, where men are actively involved in mending gender based violence in general," explained Simao. "There are role models like actors, big stars, celebrities who come out and talk against gender based violence to change cultural norms to change the environment, to have attitudes to understand gender equality, and to be respectful of their partner’s or whatever situation you have with women."

Simao said men are an essential part of the effort because women experience sexual violence from men. Involving them in the process, she says, will help men become part of the solution, and not just the problem.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid