Addressing Gender Concerns: Violence and HIV

gender-concerns (1)Melbourne, Australia: Among the sessions held during the 20th International AIDS Conference was a panel discussion entitled Addressing Gender Concerns: Violence and HIV.
Employing rigorous empirical social science methodologies, teams of researchers on three continents attempted to answer some of the previously un-asked questions that are crucially important to understanding the nature and extent of violence, including violence against women living with HIV.
Their reports acknowledge the guidance provided by the work previously completed by other researchers. However, some of their research is exploratory in nature, i.e., seeking answers to new questions about the etiology or causes of violence and searching in new ways for potential strategies to reduce this violence, including violence against women living with HIV.
Graeme Hoddinott is based in South Africa. His team collected data from more than 200 people in 21 communities in Zambia and South Africa. Hoddinott’s team found that some violent crimes place individuals at direct risk of HIV infection and are “structural barriers to HIV prevention uptake.”
Andrew Gibbs also is based in South Africa. His team obtained information from 232 young people living in two informal settlements near Durban, South Africa. In this pilot study, Gibbs’ team found that engaging participants in a series of discussions on skill development (such as getting and keeping jobs, and coping with shocks) has the potential to result in men having more “equitable attitudes” toward women and women experiencing less domestic violence from men.
Thasaporn Damri’s team is based in Thailand. Her team explored new questions about violence against lesbians and bisexual females in secondary schools. Damri’s team collected data from teachers, school administrators and students. Reportedly, the data show that these students were socially marginalized by teachers and administrators through discriminatory treatment and labelling, and bullied by male students. As a result, these students were depressed, consumed alcohol and engaged in unprotected sex.
Tamil Kendall is based in the USA. Her team collected data from 285 women living with HIV in El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. Kendall’s team examined the issue of coercive and forced sterilization of women living with HIV. Coercive sterilization includes but is not limited to providing misinformation or intimidating women. For example, a woman living with HIV was told that if she became pregnant again then she could die. Forced sterilization occurs without the woman’s knowledge or informed consent. Kendall’s team found that “contact with maternal health services with a known HIV diagnosis was women’s greatest risk factor for experiencing coercive or forced sterilization”.
Ameeta Kalokhe is based in the USA. Her team conducted its research in India. Among the team’s concernsis whether domestic violence scales used to measure physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse against women are appropriate when trying to measure violence against Indian women. Kalokhe’s team interviewed sociologists, religious leaders, court counsellors, and health care professionals to determine which questions should be asked. More than 600 women then were asked these questions. Kalokhe’s team is continuing its work in validating the Indian Family Violence and Control Scale.
Dr. Anne T. Sulton, Esq.
Jackson Advocate Senior International Correspondent
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