SA: GBV and HIV/AIDS issues not given attention

SA: GBV and HIV/AIDS issues not given attention

Date: June 12, 2018
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By Mauwane Raophala

Johannesburg, 6 June 2018:The link between Gender Based violence (GBV) and HIV and AIDS remains one of the issues that are not given much attention in South Africa, even though it continues to increase women’s vulnerability to HIV by making it difficult to set the terms of equal relationship.

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi Minister of Health, while delivering his state of the country’s healthcare system press conference in South Africa recently, noted that the demand for healthcare in South Africa has increased. For instance, the number of people who receive Antiretroviral (ARVs) increased 10 times since 2004. Even though the people of South Africa have reached an appalling state in public health under his watch, because there are no problem solving techniques related to this matter.

There are various forms of violence directed against women namely physical, emotional, sexual, and economic violence. Despite these barriers, many abused women eventually leave their partners, often after multiple attempts and years of violence. By the time that they gather the courage to leave abusive partners, most are infected with the HIV, and some abused women end up being killed by their partners and it is eventuality termed femicide.

According to Global AIDS Alliance, violence puts women and girls at risk of HIV, because violence against women is associated with an increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections, a risk factor of HIV. The Global AIDS Alliance study in South Africa found that women who have been forced to have sex are almost six times more likely to use condoms inconsistently than those who have not been coerced.

Deliberating on the side effects of GBV, the Global AIDS Alliance study explains it that children who are sexually abused are more likely to engage in behaviours known to be risky when they grow up, for example, sexual or domestic violence. It stated furthermore that men who are violent toward their intimate partners have been found to be more likely to have multiple sexual partners than men who are not violent toward their partners. A World Health Organisation (WHO) study found that fear of violence was a barrier to HIV disclosure for an average of 25% of participating women. In some countries the proportion was as high as 86%. Fear of violence prevents women from seeking voluntary counselling and testing for HIV, returning for their test results, or getting treatment if they are HIV positive or services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

She Conquers South Africa campaign, highlighted that these forms of violence are often connected to poverty, as well as to society’s expectations about male and female roles. This is why it is essential to support and empower girls and young women to find or create jobs for themselves, because being independent gives them more power and opportunity to be in control of their lives.

Women need more access to health care system more than men do, because 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, according to WHO. GBV denies far too many women the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Mauwane Raophala is a Media intern at Gender Links. This article is part of the GL News and Blogs series.

One thought on “SA: GBV and HIV/AIDS issues not given attention”

nkokheli Kendol Mankayi says:

This is a good read however as gender activists we should stop looking at gender as only Men and Women identities, we need to look at it as a spectrum because South Africa has a history of oppression and post 1994 we vowed to move away from oppression and look to social radical tranformation and create inclusive spaces where we look at issues of Gender and Gender based violence from an intersectional Perspective and in this era we are in Oppression exist amongst the so called liberated community by oppressing those that are still not seen as “NORMAL” Through language and Messaging.

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