Ending gender-based violence, doing more for adolescents: We’re reading about young people and HIV

By on .

NewWWRUNAIDS calls for an end to gender-based violence – In this press release issued ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women yesterday, the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS says gender-based violence is not only a serious human rights violation but also increases the risk of HIV infection, particularly among young women in sub-Saharan Africa.  UNAIDS cites recent research which shows a clear link between intimate partner violence and HIV infection: women who experience violence from their partners face a 50 percent increased risk of acquiring HIV.  “Every hour 50 young women become newly infected with HIV,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, in the release. “Women and girls have the right to live free of violence and inequities and to protect themselves against HIV.”  According to the WHO, one in three women will experience sexual violence in their life time, and 150 million girls under 18 have experienced some form of sexual violence.  According to UN Women, violence against women causes more death and disability for women and girls between the ages of 15 and 44, than do cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined.


A featured page in Safe Magazine, from BecauseIAmAGirl.com

A featured page in Safe Magazine, from BecauseIAmAGirl.com.

Together for Girls launches Safe Magazine – Yesterday on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Together for Girls, a public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence among children, launched Safe, the first digital magazine designed to help stop the pandemic of sexual violence against girls and boys.  The magazine features stories of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, offers tips on how readers can protect themselves and their children, and highlights how individuals, NGOs, national governments and communities are fighting violence.

It features an interview with Michele Moloney-Kitts, Director of Together for Girls, who says in her interview that the impetus for Together for Girls came from Becton Dickinson executive vice president Gary Cohen and the notion that gender-based violence is a driver of the HIV epidemic: “It became clear to him that violence against girls was driving the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa as well as undermining the broader development agenda…Gary was quickly able to engage the highest levels of leadership from public and private institutions, and got them to commit to work on the issue.”

She goes on to say that as longtime advocates for global HIV/AIDS, they’ve learned much from the global fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic and are using the same tools to fight the global epidemic of violence against children.  She says, “we discovered with HIV that when people were aware there was life-saving treatment, they were more willing to get tested and connect to care…when people know there’s help for those who have been sexually abused, they are also more likely to come forward for help and more likely to disclose, both of which help break the cycle of violence and reduce the stigma surrounding it.”

WHO launches HIV testing and treatment recommendations for adolescents – In their new guidance for HIV testing and counseling and care for adolescents living with HIV, the World Health Organization says adolescents and young people continue to be both socially and economically vulnerable to HIV infection, despite efforts to date.  “This is particularly true for adolescents — especially girls — who live in settings with a generalized HIV epidemic or who are members of key populations at higher risk for HIV acquisition or transmission through sexual transmission and injecting drug use,” the guidance says. While HIV-related deaths have fallen by 30 percent globally between 2005 and 2012, HIV-related deaths among adolescents increased by 50 percent during the same time period.  “This increase in adolescent HIV-related deaths is due primarily to poor prioritization of adolescents in national HIV plans, inadequate provision of accessible and acceptable HTC and treatment services and lack of support for adolescents to remain in care and adhere to antiretroviral therapy,” the report says. The guidelines provide specific recommendations on prioritizing, planning and providing HIV testing, counseling, treatment and care services for adolescents.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.