Study Urges Donors and Agencies to Address the Intersection of Violence against Women and HIV/AIDS Prevention
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:14 PM

The newly formed Women Won’t Wait, a coalition of organizations dedicated to eradicating violence against women and HIV/AIDS, was founded on the principle that every woman is entitled to freedom from violence and access to healthcare.  The coalition recently released a report entitled “Show Us the Money: is violence against women on the HIV&AIDS donor agenda?” The report investigated and evaluated the policies for addressing violence against women of the four major public funding sources to fight AIDS, including The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, (GFATM), The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, (PEPFAR), The United Kingdom Department for International Development, (DFID) and the World Bank, as well as the international agency UNAIDS. 

According to the report, AIDS is both spread by and results in violence against women.  For example, women are less able to demand condom use or refuse sexual advances due to threats of violence.  Furthermore, HIV or AIDS status, testing, and treatment also increases the risk of violence towards women.  The failure to address such violence in HIV/AIDS efforts has resulted in a disproportionate number of HIV positive women.  Accordingly, a truly comprehensive campaign against HIV/AIDS must include efforts to eliminate violence towards women.

While there is a strong correlation between violence against women and AIDS, the report found that more needs to be done to unite the issues.  The agencies in the report have made public statements regarding the link between violence against women and AIDS, but none have yet fully integrated efforts to address violence in their campaigns against HIV/AIDS.  Currently, not one of the agencies articulates a strategy for addressing violence against women, and none has tools to track the funding allocated to or evaluate the success of organizations working to address violence against women.

To eliminate these gaps in accountability, the report has several recommendations. Funding organizations are urged to develop policies addressing violence and to support cross-issue cooperation.  Furthermore, they are encouraged to create methods of measuring the success of efforts to abolish violence, such as tracking how resources are allocated and utilized and conducting studies to improve the effectiveness of integration at the field level.

To view the full report, click here.

Compiled from: Women Won’t Wait Campaign; Show Us the Money: is violence against women on the HIV&AIDS donor agenda? Washington; D.C.: Action Aid; 2007. Author: Susana T. Fried.