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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. We've got the power: women, adolescent girls and the HIV response

    This publication marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most comprehensive and progressive global policy road map for fulfilling the human rights of women and girls and achieving gender equality. Progress has been made in key areas, the report shows, however, that many of the promises made to improve the lives of women and girls around the world have not been kept. It points out how the HIV epidemic holds a mirror up to these inequalities and injustices, and how the gaps in rights and services for women and girls are exacerbating the epidemic. …

  2. Violence against adolescent girls: trends and lessons for East Africa

    This report seeks to explore the unique experience of adolescent girls by examining the types of gender-based violence affecting this group as well as drivers of this violence, within the frame of high levels of gender inequality in South Sudan. Data for this study was collected as part of the research program of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (‘What Works’) Consortium funded by the government of the United Kingdom (UK)’s Department for International Development (DfID). …

  3. We want to learn about good love: findings from a qualitative study assessing the links between comprehensive sexuality education and violence against women and girls

    Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) – including learning about relationships, gender and gender-based violence (GBV), sex, sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) – can empower young people to make informed, autonomous decisions regarding their current and future relationships. CSE may also influence a positive shift in social norms which underpin violence against women and girls (VAWG), such as harmful notions of masculinity, and rigid gender roles and stereotypes – both in schools and the wider community. …

  4. Women living with HIV speak out against violence: A collection of essays and reflections of women living with and affected by HIV

    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.

  5. Because I am a girl: The state of the world's girls 2014. Pathways to power: Creating sustainable change for adolescent girls

    This is the eighth in the annual ‘Because I am a Girl’ report series, published by Plan, which assesses the current state of the world’s girls. While women and children are recognised in policy and planning, girls’ needs and rights are often ignored. The reports provide evidence, including the voices of girls themselves, as to why they need to be treated differently from boys and adult women. They also use information from primary research, in particular a small study set up in 2006 following 142 girls from nine countries. …

  6. Addressing the intergenerational transmission of gender-based violence: Focus on educational settings

    Gender-based violence (GBV) is increasingly recognized as a hindrance to economic and social development, in addition to violating the human rights of those experiencing it. Therefore, preventing the perpetration of GBV has ramifications beyond simply ending violence. Gender-based violence is violence perpetrated based on a person’s gender, and reflective of gender inequalities. Patriarchal social norms exist to varying degrees in almost every part of the world, often placing men and boys in dominant positions over women and girls. …

  7. Strengthening the enabling environment for women and girls: what is the evidence in social and structural approaches in the HIV response?

    There is growing interest in expanding public health approaches that address social and structural drivers that affect the environment in which behaviour occurs. Half of those living with HIV infection are women. The sociocultural and political environment in which women live can enable or inhibit their ability to protect themselves from acquiring HIV. …

  8. Preventing sexual violence and HIV in children

    BACKGROUND: Evidence linking violence against women and HIV has grown, including on the cycle of violence and the links between violence against children and women. To create an effective response to the HIV epidemic, it is key to prevent sexual violence against children and intimate partner violence (IPV) against adolescent girls. …

  9. If I buy the Kellogg’s then he should [buy] the milk: young women’s perspectives on relationship dynamics, gender power and HIV risk in Johannesburg, South Africa

    Ideals of masculinity and femininity may limit South African women's decision making power in relationships and increase their risk of HIV infection. The authors conducted 30 in-depth interviews with 18-24-year-old women in inner-city Johannesburg with the aim of understanding young women's expectations of intimate relationships with men, their perceptions of gender and power and how this influences HIV risk. …

  10. Women hold up half the sky - and half the burden of the HIV epidemic

    The HIV burden on women is dramatically higher in some regions, certain age groups and among marginalized groups, such as female sex workers. Women’s vulnerability to HIV is exacerbated by gender inequality and domestic violence. The global effort towards elimination of paediatric HIV and keeping mothers alive deserves applause. However, the needs of women go beyond their child-bearing age or potentials and/or reproductive desires and must be recognized in the global HIV agenda. In particular, more female-controlled prevention tools are urgently required to allow women to protect themselves.

  11. The importance of addressing gender inequality in efforts to end vertical transmission of HIV

    The recently launched ‘‘Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive’’ sets forth ambitious targets that will require more widespread implementation of comprehensive prevention of vertical HIV transmission (PMTCT) programmes. As PMTCT policymakers and implementers work toward these new goals, increased attention must be paid to the role that gender inequality plays in limiting PMTCT programmatic progress. …

  12. They are destroying our futures: Sexual violence against girls in Zambia's schools

    This report examines the problem of sexual violence against girls in Zambian schools. In Zambia, many girls are raped, sexually abused, harassed, and assaulted by teachers and male classmates. They are also subjected to sexual harassment and attack while travelling to and from school. Such abuse is a devastating and often overlooked manifestation of the gender-based violence that occurs in numerous settings in Zambia and other countries throughout the world. …

  13. Sexuality and the limits of agency among South African teenage women: theorising femininities and their connections to HIV risk practices

    In South Africa, both HIV and gender-based violence are highly prevalent. Gender inequalities give men considerable relational power over young women, particularly in circumstances of poverty and where sex is materially rewarded. Young women are often described as victims of men, but this inadequately explains women's observed sexual agency. This paper takes a different approach. The authors use qualitative interviews and ethnographic observation among 16 young women from the rural Eastern Cape to explore ways young women construct their femininities and exercise agency. …

  14. Individual and community-level tolerance of spouse abuse and the association with the circumstances of first sex among youth from six sub-Saharan African countries

    Youth who engage in early and premarital sex are at risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Most prevention programs ignore the mediating influence of the threat and experience of violence on these outcomes. Using nationally representative data from Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, the autors used multivariate analyses to examine the association between individual- and community-level tolerance of spouse abuse on the age and circumstances of sexual debut among female youth. The youth sample sizes ranged from a high of 5007 in Malawi to a low of 3050 in Lesotho. …

  15. HIV and violence against women in Belize

    The overall objective of this study was to explore the potential intersections between two forms of violence against women (VAW) - partner violence and non-partner violence - among users of VAW and HIV services and to document their experiences, knowledge and perceptions on HIV and violence. The information was collected using a standardized questionnaire in each participant country in order to collect and compare data in a multi-country analysis. In Belize seventy-four (74) women were interviewed, 32 users of HIV services and 42 users of VAW services countrywide during 2007. …

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