Women's Human Rights and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic
Wednesday, April 27, 2005 11:05 AM

According to a briefing paper by Human Rights Watch, the pervasive abuse of women’s and girls’ human rights throughout the world has contributed to the growth of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Domestic abuse, including marital rape, violations of property and inheritance rights, the traditional practices of bride price, widow inheritance, and ritual sexual cleansing, and sexual abuse of girls combined with the failure of governments to provide sufficient access to HIV/AIDS information and services have resulted in an HIV infection rates of women and girls that are many times higher than those of men and boys.

The briefing paper makes a number of recommendations with regard to this urgent problem. Recommendations for immediate action include: Legal reform of the laws that protect women’s equal rights in the areas of inheritance, domestic and sexual violence, marriage and divorce, land use and ownership, and access to housing and social services; the implementation of programs that address women’s rights abuses; the development of public education campaigns that include information in local languages and media outlets; and assistance from international donors and NGOs and other governments that can respond to and shed light on this problem.

Please click here to understand more about the link between women’s and girls’ human rights abuses and HIV/AIDS.

Compiled from: A Dose of Reality: Women’s Rights in the Fight against HIV/AIDS, Human Rights Watch, 2003.