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Violence against women and girls is an unacceptable violation of basic human rights. It also is so widespread that ending it must be a public health priority. An estimated one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner during her lifetime. Intimate partner violence has been shown to increase the risk of HIV infection by around 50 per cent, and violence (and the fear of violence) deters women and girls from seeking services for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
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The AIDS response is producing exciting results and we can already foresee a time when the AIDS epidemic could end. Yet, the promises of science, politics and economic development will not be realized if we do not unite with women against violence as an integral part of the HIV response.
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The findings of this assessment indicates that gender-related barriers pose significant obstacles to the uptake of services that prevent new HIV infections among children and keep mothers alive—obstacles that require urgent attention. Without dedicated attempts to overcome these gender-related barriers, current efforts will meet with limited success, and the needs and rights of both women and children will remain compromised.
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This publication is the result of extensive consultations and a response to the call for clear policy and practical guidance for mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction. It offers much-needed policy and practical guidelines for national and local governments to further implement the Hyogo Framework for Action.