Addressing the dual challenge of SGBV and HIV
No one—woman, man, or child—should have to experience sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Yet such violence is pervasive in many communities around the world. Research indicates that women who experience forced or coercive sex are at higher risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
The connections between HIV and SGBV are well established, and there is widespread recognition that programs and policies should address both.
In recognition of the yearly observance of World AIDS Day (1 December) and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (25 November–10 December), the Population Council highlights our pathbreaking work to create evidence and develop effective solutions to the dual challenge of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and HIV.
The Council is helping ensure that survivors of violence get services when and where they need them, including emergency contraception and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
The Council also works to address the circumstances that lead to violence in the first place. Our programs are working to change the environment that enables SGBV and increases HIV risk.
Meeting the needs of survivors
- In Vietnam, Rwanda, and Uganda, the Council created tools to help health programs establish and implement effective SGBV programs.
- The Council-led Africa Regional SGBV Network is helping the medical, legal, and justice sectors provide better-integrated care for SGBV survivors and prevent HIV transmission.
- In Zambia and South Africa, the Council was instrumental in the drafting of both countries' first-ever policies to address SGBV. Both embrace a comprehensive model of care to provide medical management of SGBV, engage with the criminal justice system, and mobilize communities to prevent SGBV.
Preventing sexual and gender-based violence
- In Ethiopia, the Biruh Tesfa program protects the rights of vulnerable urban girls by promoting literacy, life and livelihood skills, and HIV-reproductive health education through girls' clubs led by adult female mentors. More than 55,000 out-of-school girls have participated in the program.
- In India, Council researchers assessed the impact of the RHANI Wives Project, a project that improves wives' social support, financial education, and negotiation skills around sexual communication in marriage, marital condom use, and transmission of STIs, including HIV. The intervention has significantly reduced marital sexual risk for HIV and spousal violence.
- Also in India, a program for young men called Yari-Dosti improved partner communication and attitudes about gender norms and reduced partner violence. Findings informed the development of a program to educate young men and women on issues of gender equity in three Indian states.
- Read a Council white paper that synthesizes information about these dual challenges: The prevention and management of HIV and sexual and gender-based violence: Responding to the needs of survivors and those at risk
- A report from a recent meeting of the SGBV Network highlights activities that have influenced policy and practice in Africa: The Africa Regional Sexual and Gender-based Violence Network annual partners meeting, June 26–27, Mombasa, Kenya
- This short brief describes risks to young girls and Council approaches to reducing their vulnerability: Addressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against adolescent girls
- A USAID case study features Council research on SGBV in Vietnam (offsite link): Public-sector response to gender-based violence in Vietnam
About the Population Council
The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.
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The Population Council welcomes Landis MacKellar as co-editor of Population and Development Review.