Society Shouldn't Be A Roadblock To My Right To Health

12 December 2017

Evidence clearly shows the links between gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV – both as cause and consequences of women and girls' vulnerability to HIV. In some areas, women who were physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner are up to twice more likely to get HIV. Young women and adolescent girls represent 60% of newly infected worldwide and 22% in West Africa have increased vulnerability. Benin is no exception. The female/male ratio of HIV infection is 14 to 10 and the prevalence in key populations 5 to 17 times higher than the general population.

As the civil society Principal Recipient of The Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria HIV Grant in Benin, Plan International is committed to using a gender transformative approach to address the root causes of GBV to fight HIV. In 2017, a key first step was to commission a national gender study of GBV with the government, UNAIDS and other partners. The gender study will serve to identify and understand key gender and social-based forms of discrimination, stigmatization and GBV factors influencing vulnerable and key affected women, men, girls and boys in all their diversity and their vulnerability to HIV in the context of Benin.

Preliminary study results indicate that in the context of Benin, rigid and unequal gender norms define and privilege male decision making power in intimate sexual relationships. These unequal power relations leave women and girls from the general population and key populations with little negotiating power to protect themselves in sexual relationships or to make autonomous positive health choices. Unequal gender norms justify and perpetuate high levels of gender based discrimination and violence among women, girls and key populations. 

Read the full article online here