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Violence against women and girls is an unacceptable violation of basic human rights. It also is so widespread that ending it must be a global public health priority. An estimated one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner during her lifetime. Intimate partner violence has been shown to increase the risk of HIV infection by around 50%, and violence (and the fear of violence) deters women and girls from seeking services for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
With the global AIDS response becoming increasingly hampered by the criminalization of key populations, this study aims to encourage and assist parliamentary scrutiny of legislation that impedes effective HIV interventions. It highlights the various processes in selected parliaments that led to the adoption of laws with a positive impact on the AIDS response. Although such outcomes were not always easy to achieve, they were mainly the result of inspired leadership by parliamentarians able to overcome the moral obstacles that had stifled socially sensitive issues in political debate.