INTERSECTION OF HIV
AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & GIRLS
can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained
by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his
method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle."
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
We hear a lot about sexual abstinence until marriage as the “only” protection from HIV infection but for many women, marriage is the highest risk behavior in which they can participate. Sadly, in many cultures there is no education to suggest such a thing and in
many cultures, women live in fear of violence and cannot negotiate
for protected sex. Sexual non-compliance is unthinkable. A condom
request can be perceived as an admission of adultery. An HIV positive
woman is accused of being the one who brought the disgrace to the
family. She can be thrown out, stoned, or punished at the discretion
of the “dishonoured” husband’s family. The woman
is always blamed. In such societies, it is also possible that the
death of a husband leaves the wife vulnerable to the sexual or marital
desires of other male members of the husband’s family.
Domestic Violence is usually disguised & difficult to speak about
rights often are subject to violent sex, which creates added receptivity
to HIV because of internal abrasions, fissures and ruptures. In
some cultures, forced anal sex, which is a highly risky vector for
HIV, is used in order to avoid pregnancy. HIV often follows and
spreads from trucking routes as truck drivers have sex with prostitutes,
bringing the disease home with them. The same is true of men who
leave the villages to work in the cities.
violence of love is as much to be dreaded as that of hate"
Henry David Thoreau