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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid