Applied research services on inter-linkages between Gender Based Violence and HIV

The partnership of the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD), Salamander Trust, AIDS Legal Network, the ATHENA Network and Project Empower announce that they have been selected as diverse research institutions to support the design of an implementation and monitoring framework for community based organizations in six countries based on the latest evidence and promising practices related to gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV. This work aims to document and determine effectiveness and lessons learnt.

The inter-linkages between GBV and HIV have been reflected in recent reports by WHO, UNAIDS, and others (UNAIDS, 2014; WHO, 2013). These include recognition of four main forms of GBV that need to be considered: 1) intimate partner violence (IPV), that is violence between people in a sexual relationship; 2) violence beyond IPV that results from “heteronormative” gender norms and inequalities (such as targeted sexual violence or rape against lesbian women); 3) structural violence, that is violence perpetrated by social arrangements (such as stigmatising and discriminatory attitudes of many health care workers and limited access to justice or property rights for many women); and 4) the widespread sexual violence often perpetrated as a weapon of war.

GBV intersects with other structural inequalities – poverty, disability – and other factors such as HIV status, sexuality and gender identity, sex work and drug use. These operate in such a way that women in additional contexts of marginalisation are more likely to be exposed to potential forms of GBV. In addition women often have fewer resources to protect themselves or to seek redress. Thus there is a complex and entwined interface between all these factors, HIV vulnerability, exposure, acquisition and transmission, and GBV in all its forms.

Our Consortium, contracted by and working closely with UNAIDS, will undertake the following pieces of work, grounded in human rights and using participatory approaches to:

  • Design an implementation framework to be used by CBOs, based on the latest evidence and including promising community practices related to reducing GBV in the context of HIV.
  • Develop selection criteria for implementing CBOs.
  • Create a robust monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that aligns with the implementation framework.
  • Provide technical support to CBOs, in coordination with and guided by UNAIDS Country Offices (UCOs).
  • Produce a journal article.

We will share updates from this project as the work progresses.