Leaders, Donors Need To Address Role of Violence Against Girls, Women To Curb Spread of HIV, Report Says
Political leaders and program donors need to address the role of violence against girls and women to curb the spread of HIV, Lisa Schechtman, lead author of a report by the Global AIDS Alliance that was presented Thursday at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, said, Reuters reports. "Like HIV/AIDS, violence is taking place on an epidemic scale, and as that occurs, it fuels the HIV/AIDS pandemic," Schechtman said (French, Reuters, 8/17). Women who have experienced violence might be three times as likely as women who have not experienced violence to contract HIV, the report says. In addition, the increased risk of HIV transmission during unprotected forced or coerced sex is compounded by HIV/AIDS policies that do not take into account the "realities facing women and girls," according to the report (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/11). According to the report, about one in two girls in Uganda has been raped, and the rate of rape among girls in Ethiopia and Kenya also is high. GAA Executive Director Paul Zeitz said education and health reform, community-level efforts against violence, and updated legislation that addresses violence toward children and women are needed. GAA recommended that $2 billion annually be allocated to address issues concerning violence against women and children. According to Reuters, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, UNAIDS and the World Bank have said they would address the issue. However, GAA said that their pledges have been insufficient and that very little work has been done to address violence against women (French, Reuters, 8/17).
Kaisernetwork.org served as the official webcaster of the conference. View the guide to coverage and all webcasts, interviews and a daily video round up of conference highlights at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.