Gender Inequality, violence, and AIDS

In our western world, HIV/AIDS has become a pretty well-contained situation that can be treated perfectly well with medication. But there are parts of the world like Africa, Latin America, Asia, and even Russia when access to proper medication is practically non-existent.

HIV/AIDs affects more women than it affects men. My professional life lies in HIV/AIDS research and it was only until recently that the particular research project that I work for decided to include a gender section of the research report.

I’ve been reading various articles about women, HIV/AIDS, and specifically Western Africa, and I was not surprised to see the direct correlation with HIV/AIDS and domestic violence.

Not only is violence in heterosexual married relationships directly related to the likelihood of using condoms during intercourse (which makes women vulnerable to HIV), but violence with sex workers also makes women more vulnerable to HIV. To read more correlations between gender, violence, and HIV/AIDS, the Global AIDS Alliance has a great fact sheet.

One WHO report states: “The biological risk of HIV transmission will surely be affected by the type of sexual exposures, the presence of STDs, exposures to blood or vaginal excretions and the degree of trauma. When sexual intercourse is forced, abrasions and cuts are most likely to appear. In addition, the use of condoms in that kind of situations is highly unlikely. There is a need for discussion on the reality on a range of sexually coercive behaviours–including statutory rape, attempted rape, and rape”.

And not only in this way do we have to address the issue. Also, across the world but predominantly in third world countries, inequality and violence are also present in the workplace. Isn’t high time that we in the western world stop closing our eyes to this enormous problem that affect women everywhere?

As some of you may know, women in the U.S. are largely affected by HIV/AIDS, some groups more than others. Women everywhere in the world are affected by HIV/AIDS more than men, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries, where gender inequality remains ingrained in their culture. For example, in Nigeria, where the population of people living with HIV/AIDS is the second largest in the world, about 58% of people living with HIV/AIDS are women.

The purpose of this post was to highlight the connections between gender, violence, and HIV/AIDS. Not a very upbeat subject, especially for a Friday, but I think it’s important for everyone to think about these connections and what it means for gender equality in other countries. In saying that, there is an online forum hosted by SSRC (Social Science Research Council), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). It’s called “Violence, Gender, Culture & HIV in the 21st Century” where you can read articles about the very subject and discuss these issues with other people like you. See also this post about gender inequality in sports.

I really hope that in 2019, there’ll be more awareness of these problems and that western countries will finally start doing something about the tragedies that occur all over the developing world and that his shameful situation will not continue to be disregarded and forgotten! Gender inequality is everywhere and we also see that educational options for girls and women are so restricted in many countries as well and as we all know, education is the best medicine to fight poverty and inequality! Nevertheless, I wish you all a Happy New Year and let’s pray and hope that the new year will shine a brighter light on many parts of the world.