About Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS

“Violence against women and girls is disturbingly related to increasing rates of HIV/AIDS infection in women and girls around the world. As people of faith, we must respond with compassion and urgency to end violence against women and its links to HIV/AIDS”

– Dr. Vinu Aram

Violence against women causes serious health problems for individual women, girls, families and communities. One such health problem compounded by violence against women is HIV and AIDS. Violence against women is strongly correlated to increasing rates of HIV/AIDS infection in women and girls around the world. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to HIV, evident by the increasing number of women contracting HIV that far surpasses the infection rates of men. Unfortunately, these figures are, in part, a result of violence against women and girls, which raises the likelihood of infection. Concurrently, women with HIV/AIDS are more vulnerable to violence against them.

    • A clinic in Zambia reported that 60 percent of eligible women opt out of treatment due to fears of violence and abandonment resulting from disclosing their HIV-positive status.

 

    • In the Dominican Republic studies conducted in 2007 concluded that women who experienced violence were nearly four times as likely to have a sexually transmitted infection than women who had not been abused.

 

    • If women face sexual violence such as rape, prostitution and trafficking they have little, if any, way to negotiate safer sex practices and thus prevent the infection if it is with an HIV-positive partner. Women also fear further violence if they pursue HIV testing and/or disclose HIV-positive status to their partners.

 

    • For women that have already contracted the disease, the social stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV and AIDS often leads to increased levels of violence against them. Unequal power dynamics in marital relationships can also have detrimental effects on HIV-positive women deterring them from getting tested, seeking treatment or leaving them powerless to say no to an HIV-positive partner.