Special Rapporteur on VAW: Intersections of violence against women and HIV/AIDS
UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
HIV is on the rise in all parts of the world, spreading in particular among women and girls. The pandemic represents a medium where the complex manifestations of gender inequality as it impacts on women are observed. Discrimination against women, due to gender inequality, is multiple and compounded at the intersection of patriarchy and other sites of oppression, which subjugate women to a continuum of violence, making them susceptible to HIV/AIDS.
The report analyses the interconnections between violence against women and HIV/AIDS, considering violence both as a cause and a consequence of HIV. It examines how the various types of violence to which women are subject, from the domicile to the transnational arena, increase the risks of transmission of HIV; the ways in which stigma, discrimination, and gender-based violence are experienced by women living with HIV, as well as the obstacles to women’s access to medical care and justice. Throughout the report, emphasis is placed on the intersectionality of violence against women and HIV as well as the multiplicity of types of discrimination experienced by women living with HIV, particularly by migrant, refugee, minority, and other marginalized groups of women.
Whereas HIV-related human rights are protected under international human rights law, and while the connections between violence against women and HIV/AIDS are indisputable, States have yet to create integrated and effective responses dealing with gender inequality as the root cause and consequence of the gender-specific manifestations of the disease. While some progress is being made separately on ending violence against women and stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS, national and international efforts would be vastly more effective if they addressed the interconnectedness between the two pandemics.