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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid