Gender-Based Violence and HIV/SRHR – The commonly ignored linkages we need to open our eyes for

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Isabella Marques de Almeida Freitas, a 4rd-year medical student at Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, UNIMONTES, at Montes Claros, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights services (SRHR services) are services whose goals are to promote a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, to enable a pleasureable and safe sexual experiences, to support individuals and couples to make informed decisions on if, when and how often they want to reproduce, and to facilitate a wide range of safe and effective family planning methods, including prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other essential forms of care such as preventive screening.

HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) services aim to identify HIV infection, prevent new cases and provide care to enhance the quality of life and prevent premature death.

HIV and SRHR services are complementary and overlapping services that would best be delivered in an integrated approach, aligned with other services such as maternal and child health, adolescent health, men’s health and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) services.

In that sense, it’s important to address the inter-connections between SRHR, GBV and HIV/AIDS.

GBV can be defined as any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially determined gender differences between males and females. GBV manifests in form of Sexual violence (rape or sexual assault, sexual harassment), Physical violence (hitting or beating), Economic violence (denial of resources), Emotional violence (psychological abuse) and Harmful “traditional practices” (forced marriages, female genital mutilation).

GBV is not only a human rights violation but also a barrier to HIV prevention, treatment and care. Intimate partner violence (IPV), for example, lessens one’s ability to negotiate condom use with their partners, thus increasing their risk of HIV infection. For example, forced sex further increases the risk of HIV transmission to women due to tears and lacerations, especially in adolescent girls.

For women, testing positive for HIV or STIs may constitute a risk factor for experiencing GBV, with studies finding an increase in violence following disclosure of HIV status or even following disclosure that HIV testing has been sought.

GBV may also interfere with the ability to access HIV treatment and potentially the ability to maintain adherence to anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment.

Likewise, it also includes the reduced access to information, condoms, HIV testing, treatment and care for the LGBT community.

Because of these linkages, in HIV and SRHR programmes, addressing GBV effectively will reduce SRHR and HIV risks.

Combined prevention efforts must include interventions to prevent and address gender-based violence if we are to achieve the goal of eliminating AIDS as a public health threat.

Services related to GBV, SRHR and HIV all need to address underlying social issues. GBV risk must be monitored, identified and addressed in order to improve the quality of care and treatment outcomes, especially for women, particularly those belonging to marginalized groups, such as sex workers and injecting drug users, who face additional discrimination. A comprehensive SRHR service, with a “life-skills” package that addresses issues related to gender, HIV, communication, and relationships in a community would be the best course of action.

About the author

Isabella Marques de Almeida Freitas is a 4rd-year medical student at Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, UNIMONTES, at Montes Claros, Brazil. She is very passioned about the research area, always trying to improve herself. Isabella is a member of IFMSA Brazil and a fervorous feminist who loves to advocate for women’s rights and gender respect and equallity whenever possible. Her goal is to make the whole world a better and safer place to live in for everyone.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

How the massive plan to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine could make history – and leverage blockchain like never before

President von der Leyen’s State of the Union Address: charting the course out of the coronavirus crisis and into the future

Why capital markets have no more reservetions about Eurozone

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

China in my eyes

Voice tech and the question of trust

My twin from Guangzhou

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

One third of poorer countries face both undernutrition and obesity: WHO report

Eurozone in trouble after Nicosia’s ‘no’

New energy security framework will help meet growing needs in East Africa, sustainably – UN economic wing

A shortened EU Summit admits failures, makes risky promises

Excise duties: Commission welcomes agreement on rules governing alcohol

COVID-19 lessons learnt: boosting EU civil protection

These are the countries best prepared for the fight against cancer

UN chief welcomes Taliban’s temporary truce announcement, encourages all parties to embrace ‘Afghan-owned peace’

Businesses are thriving, societies are not. Time for urgent change

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – MENA in Dubai, in Association with The European Sting

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Risks rising in corporate debt market

Military Medicine and its Relationship with Antibiotic Therapy

LGBTQI+ and medicine: are we prepared to deliver dignified and non-discriminatory health care?

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

New labour laws in Qatar benefiting migrant workers a ‘momentous step forward’: ILO

Drinking water: new plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter

Commission tries to solidify the EU statistical system

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

On eve of Gaza border protest anniversary, UN’s top humanitarian official for Palestine calls for calm

What matters most to young Europeans?

Parliament pushes for cleaner cars on EU roads by 2030

How drones can help rural Africa take flight

Art has the power to change the world, says this renowned Iranian muralist

Spending on health increase faster than rest of global economy, UN health agency says

nCoV: An Emerging Respiratory Infection

What cybersecurity professionals can learn from triathletes

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

New Erasmus: more opportunities for disadvantaged youth

GSMA Mobile 360 – MENA Dubai on 26-27 November 2019, in association with The European Sting

Businesses are lacking moral leadership, according to employees

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

Japan’s population is shrinking by a quarter of a million people every year

This robot boat delivered a box of oysters in a breakthrough for unmanned shipping

Key elements of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment

“A global threat lies ahead worsened after the EU’s green light to the Bayer-Monsanto merger”, a Sting Exclusive by the President of Slow Food

Car-free day – and the other 364 days of the year

The global liberal order is in trouble – can it be salvaged, or will it be replaced?

The JADE Spring Conference 2017 is casting its shadows before

Entrepreneurship in a newly shaped Europe: what is the survival kit for a young Catalan and British entrepreneur in 2018?

Draghi tells the EU Parliament his relaxed policies are here to stay

3 charts to help you understand the American shale boom

Where do health literacy and health policy meet?

How listening to patients could change the way we tackle cancer

How the diaspora is helping Venezuela’s migration crisis

Car emissions: MEPs set end on gap between lab and real driving emission tests

New El Salvador law, a victory for forced displacement victims: UN refugee agency

4 ways the way we make things can change for a sustainable world

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s