Project Description

In Focus…
Living with HIV is part of a continuum…
What’s inside:
Special Report:
Side-lined, left-off
agendas and
underfunded…
Women’s Realities:
Change at an
individual level…
Expectations:
A robust
response…
Women’s Voices:
Not ready to
accept me…
In her opinion:
Progress
and/or counterproductive…
Among the many
streams of dialogue
that have contributed
towards the post-2015
High Level Panel Report
released a few days
ago, one of the most
prominent has been
the focus on growing
inequality within and
between countries
– an issue that the
Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) failed to
directly address.
And while an assessment
of the achievements
made under the MDG
framework reveals that there is
much to celebrate, there is growing
consensus around the failure to
reach ‘the bottom fifth’ – that is to
say that for those most marginalised,
most hard to reach, most affected by
multiple layers of structural barriers
(including discrimination based on
gender, age, disability, sexuality
and gender identity, caste/class, race
and ethnicity, among others) – it is
entirely possible that not much has
changed. The High Level Panel of
eminent persons on the post-2015
development agenda concludes that
…to fulfill our vision of
promoting sustainable
development, we must go
beyond the MDGs. They did not
focus enough on reaching
the very poorest and most
excluded people.1
Further, the focus on inequality
as part of the new emerging
framework (whatever that will
eventually look like) seems to
acknowledge the growing consensus
that inequality is bad for everyone,
not just for those ‘at the bottom of the
pile’. So it follows that addressing
inequality is good for everyone.
Recently compiled research across
a range of well-being indicators
shows that countries and states with
greater equality fare better on issues
from crime, mental health, literacy,
gender equality, and children’s
Mujeres Adelante 18 – 21 June 2013
Newsletter on women’s rights and HIV • 6th SA AIDS Conference 2013 • Durban
Luisa Orza
2 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 well-being to social mobility,
maternal and infant survival rates and
planned parenthood2.
Within this dialogue, it has been
said that
…Gender-based discrimination
– including the denial of the
rights of women and girls
and their disempowerment
to take control of their lives
and bodies – remains the
single most widespread driver
of inequalities.3
Much has already been said and
written about how gender inequality
plays out within the realm of HIV.
In generalised epidemics women
are more affected than men – in
terms of both susceptibility to
HIV acquisition, and vulnerability
to the impacts thereof – eg burden
of care; stigma and discrimination;
vulnerability to violence. Across
a range of settings, young women
are 3-4 times more susceptible to
HIV acquisition, than male
counterparts in the 15 – 24 year old
age group; but in some areas – such
as Rwanda – young women are 10
times more vulnerable among the
narrower 18-19 year old cohort. Even
in countries where incidence rates are
leveling off, among young women they
are rising. Young women constitute
the fastest growing population newly
acquiring HIV across the board.
Further, within key affected
populations, gender dynamics are
often ignored. But there is a growing
body of evidence4 to show that
among people who inject drugs,
women face harsher disapprobation
and stigma than men, due to the
fact that drug use is seen as a more
serious transgression for women,
in addition to facing some genderspecific
risks and vulnerabilities
(such as having children taken
away from them, or lack of access
to reproductive and maternal
health options). Women who inject
drugs also have more severely
compromised health/life expectancy,
than their male counterparts; women
are more likely to acquire HIV, and
die from drug overdose. And where
this tragically happens, the length
of time from inception of drug use
to drug-related death for women is
three years, in comparison to five
years for men, and the average age
of death is 17 for women; 25 for
men. Also within the community
of people who inject drugs we see
similar patterns of gender power
imbalance as among sex workers
or the general population – lack of
ability to negotiate harm reduction
(clean needles) when injecting with
intimate partners, whereas among
a group of casual acquaintances not
sharing needles is far more accepted.
This echoes patterns of condom
use, which tends to be easier for
women – including sex workers –
to negotiate with casual rather than
regular partners.
Inequality was also a key thread
among the sessions and discussions
of last month’s Women Deliver
Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Almost every conversation I took
part in highlighted the advances
…it is entirely
possible that
not much has
changed…
…young women
constitute the
fastest growing
population
newly acquiring
HIV across the
board…
…within
key affected
populations,
gender dynamics
are often
ignored…
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 3
that have been made under the
MDG framework, and noted that
the poorest of the poor; those who
face multiple barriers to access;
those who live in the most hard to
reach areas; those who face stigma
and discrimination as a result of
their gender, sexuality, HIV status,
caste/class or religion, disabilities, or
legal status, are being failed in every
area of MDGs 3, 4, 5 and 6 – not to
mention the other four goals. Steps
are already being taken to address
this. The Family Planning Summit
of 2012 aims to ensure that 120
million women – among the hardest
to reach – are able to access and
utilise hitherto inaccessible family
planning products. The development
of a human rights framework for the
delivery of family planning products
and services should help to ensure
that the goal – not just of reaching
new users, but of reaching new users
among the most marginalised women
– is achieved.
But what struck me at Women
Deliver, as well as at the Family
Planning Summit in London last
year – and in stark contrast to what
has been one of the most successful
characteristics of the HIV response
to date – was the lack of involvement
of the communities they aim to serve
in the discussions of development
practitioners, policy makers, donors
and service providers. As a veteran
of international, regional and country
AIDS Conferences, I am used to a
much greater degree of visibility
(albeit hard-won and not always
enough!) of the ‘most affected’
communities – those living with
HIV and representing key affected
communities. The GIPA principle has
become both a signature and mainstay
feature of the HIV response, and
while the translation of the principle
into practice continues to have its
boundaries and terms negotiated,
and contested, the principle itself is
largely undisputed.
So it was interesting to me to
hear the term ‘investment’ used not
in terms of capacitating women
to be part of the conversation,
to be involved in the decision
making that affects every aspect
of their lives, but in the – to my
mind – ‘old fashioned’ sense of
service provision and development
intervention. The steadily expanding
HIV track of the conference was
one of the only areas where an
energetic community presence was
felt, in particular from the dynamic
and determined leaders of the
Unzip the Lips campaign platform,
comprised of a coalition of women
living with HIV and women from
key affected populations in the
Asia Pacific region.5 This coming
together of women in their diversity
around a common set of sexual
and reproductive health and rights
issues has breathed a very special
kind of life into the Unzip the Lips
campaign, and it is a platform
to watch and celebrate over the
coming months as we move
towards the Asia-Pacific regional
conference (ICAAP) in November
this year, and the International
…the lack of
involvement of
the communities
they aim to
serve…
…continues
to have its
boundaries
and terms
negotiated, and
contested…
…‘old fashioned’
sense of service
provision and
development
intervention…
AIDS Conference in Melbourne
in 2014.
The need for coalitions, and the
need to address women’s issues
where they are, was also brought
home to me by another comment I
heard from a long-term HIV activist
during this conference week: that
in the community in which she
lives, women living with HIV are
the same women as those not living
with HIV. Regardless of status, these
women all wait for the same buses,
queue-up at the same supermarket
check-outs, access the same clinics,
and pick their children up from the
same schools. Their communities
face multiple challenges, including
sexual and gender-based violence,
marginalisation of certain groups,
drug and alcohol overuse,
unemployment, and other harmful
practices. And they also encompass
support systems, networks and
mechanisms that enable members
of the community to survive, and
sometimes thrive. They are the same
women who face violence and rights
abuses as women, potentially causing
HIV acquisition, at the point of
testing, diagnosis and treatment
for HIV, or as a result of the
same. Living with HIV is
part of a continuum, not an
isolated condition.
What these thoughts bring home
to me is first, that the need for
women living with HIV and their
communities to be meaningfully
involved in planning, implementing,
monitoring and evaluating change
interventions at the community
level, remains an imperative for the
HIV response, and the wider
women’s development agenda;
and, second, that addressing the
needs, rights and aspirations of
women living with HIV, amounts
to addressing the needs, rights
and aspirations of women in all
our diversity.
FOOTNOTES
1. United Nations. 2013. A New Global
Partnership: Eradicate poverty
and transform economies through
sustainable development. Report of the
High Level Panel of Eminent Persons
on the Post-2015 Development
Agenda, p4. [www.post2015hlp.org/
wp-content/uploads/2013/05/UNReport.
pdf]
2. Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. 2009. The
Spirit Level: Why equality is better for
everyone. Penguin Books, London.
3. Global Thematic Consultation on
the Post-2015 Development Agenda:
Addressing Inequalities. Report.
[www.worldwewant2015.org/
inequalities]
4. See for example www.unodc.org/
documents/hiv-aids/Women_who_
inject_drugs.pdf.
5. For more information about the
campaign, see http://unzipthelips.org/.
Acknowledgements: My thanks
(always) to Alice Welbourn of
Salamander Trust and Georgina
Caswell of GNP+ for their thoughts
and insights that have largely – and
unwittingly – provided the impetus
for this article.
Luisa is a women’s rights and HIV
activist. For more information:
luisa.orza@gmail.com.
…the need
to address
women’s
issues where
they are…
…living with
HIV is part of
a continuum,
not an isolated
condition…
…amounts to
addressing the
needs, rights
and aspirations
of women in all
our diversity…
4 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013
Transgender people, especially those who do not
have access to basic resources, experience severe
stigma, discrimination, difficult access to medical
care, and a general lack of hope. This naturally results in
low self-esteem and self-worth; and creates a compromised
position when negotiating safer sex, leaving transgender
people very vulnerable to HIV exposure and transmission.
Current HIV programming tends to ignore gender identity,
and includes transgender
people in same-sex
HIV programming and
research by making
assumptions concerning
their sexual anatomy.
The lack of specific and
adequate programmes
responding to the realities and needs of transgender people
leads to, among others, a reluctance to undergo voluntary
HIV testing and thus often results in late diagnosis and
access to treatment.
While there is a basic knowledge of HIV transmission and
risks, one cannot generalise about transgender sexuality
and gender identity in terms of sexual practices, as there is
a wide continuum and diversity in practices and behaviours.
Male condoms are the most commonly available prevention
method, along with lubrication. While some transgender
persons do practice safer sex, unsafe sex is common. Trans
men and lesbian women need more understanding and
information regarding the risk of vagina to vagina sex, and
how to protect oneself. Dental dams, female condoms and
finger clothes are not well-known or available, and are not
generally used, given the limited understanding of vagina
to vagina vulnerability.
It is our hope that the Durban AIDS Conference will
address these issues, and focus on ending the abuse and
unprofessional behaviour transgender people are often
exposed to in health services, whilst ensuring that health
services adequately address the particular needs of the
transgender population in this country. Stigma and abusive
behaviour are serious barriers to transgender people
accessing care, including HIV testing and ART treatment.
Health professionals need sensitisation, to enable services
to be provided in an affirming way, which welcomes
transgender clients. Similarly, forms and processes need
to be updated so that gender identity is not a barrier
hampering access to services, including ART, through for
instance using the incorrect pronouns.
[Liesl Theron, Gender Dynamix]
Conference expectations…:
We need to move
beyond commitments…
www.aln.org.za
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 5
6 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 Women’s Realities…
Change at an individual level…
Jordin Albers
In addition to these domestic
constitutional protections,
South Africa has signed several
international documents providing
further protection to women.
For example, the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW) and the Protocol on the
Rights of Women in Africa provide
that women and men are to be
equal in laws and policies.9 These
documents state that all women are
The Constitution of
South Africa1 is one of
the most progressive
documents in the world
in terms of the human
rights protections
that it affords. The
Constitution provides
that all persons have
the right to be treated
equally regardless of
status2, the right to
have his or her dignity
respected3, and the
right to a dignified life4.
However, despite these
guaranteed protections,
women living with
HIV in South Africa are continually
confronted with the negative stigma
that is associated with HIV. As a
result, the existing constitutional
protections prove ineffective in
protecting human rights, and
women living with HIV are left
without redress as and when their
rights are violated. Thus, to more
effectively protect the basic human
rights of women living with HIV, it
is necessary to ensure that women
are protected at an individual level
through assuring that all women are
not only aware of their rights, but
also possess the skills and education
necessary to advocate on behalf of
those rights.
Women’s rights
There are numerous protections
expressly asserted in the Constitution,
such as the right of freedom and
security of person.5 For women
living with HIV, this means that not
only do all women have the right to
be free from all forms of violence,
but also the right to make their own
reproductive decisions and to have
control over their body, including
determining whether or not and
which medical tests she will be
subjected to. The Constitution also
guarantees the right to privacy, which
means that all individuals have the
right to either disclose or to keep
secret their HIV status.6 Furthermore,
no one may be denied work or
discriminated against, in any manner,
based on their HIV status.7 Finally,
the Constitution asserts the right of
access to healthcare, irrespective of
HIV status.8
…as a result
of this negative
connotation, the
available legal
resources prove
ineffective…
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 7
to protect their rights.16 However, when rights specifically based
on and in the context of HIV are violated, the vast majority of
women do not actually take legal action. Instead, they simply
choose to continue as if no violation occurred, opting to allow
their rights to be violated, because they are fearful of the
consequences of taking such action.17
One potential cause of this is the fact that although women
living with HIV formally have access to the police when their
rights are violated, many women do not take legal action
because of the failure of the police to
act when claims are actually made.
Due to the stigma associated with
HIV, many feel that the police do
not take any action to protect the
rights of people living with HIV,
and instead treat these individuals
with disrespect.18 Furthermore, if
the police do involve themselves in
protecting these rights, it nonetheless
proves difficult to determine who
actually violated the rights of the
individual, as it may be unclear who
actually disclosed the HIV status
of a woman when everyone in the
community has been discussing
the matter. Thus, with many people involved, there is little
confidence in the police to effectively manage the case.
In addition to these issues with law enforcement, the courts
themselves do not provide compensation for women when
claims are in fact made. Despite the fact that the Constitution
guarantees people with HIV the same rights as those of all
citizens, it is believed that since the courts share the same
discriminatory attitude towards people living with HIV, women
will find no redress in these venues.19 Instead, many women
believe that the Courts will needlessly expose her to ridicule
and further discrimination only to have the law interpreted
to have equal protection in the field
of healthcare10 and have the right to
a dignified life.11
Women’s realities
Despite these formal protections,
women living with HIV in South
Africa continue to be discriminated
against at an individual level as a
result of the stigma that is associated
with HIV.12 As a result of this
negative connotation, the available
legal resources prove ineffective,
and women are consequently
subjected to various forms of rights
violations. For example, many
women unlawfully have their
HIV status disclosed and are then
isolated from their families, or are
regularly beaten, because of the
virus that they carry.
HIV status may also influence the
treatment that a woman is receiving
in terms of healthcare. As a result of
the widespread belief that a woman
living with HIV should not have a
child, many women are subjected to
forced sterilisation.13 Women find
themselves in a position where they
must comply with the sterilisation
either for their own health and the
health of the child, or as a result of
being pressured into compliance.
Many women living with HIV are
actually denied access to healthcare
either because healthcare providers
do not act in the same manner in
treating a patient with HIV as they
would in treating a patient without
HIV; or because the women are
fearful to obtain medical care,
because their HIV status will not
be kept confidential by medical
personnel.14 A woman’s positive
HIV status may be disclosed,
as women living with HIV are
shouted at and commonly treated
in a degrading manner by clinic
healthcare workers.15 In addition to
this, many medical facilities have
infrastructural shortcomings for
ensuring confidentiality – not only
physically separating patients based
on HIV status, but also marking
patients’ folders with stickers that
denote this status, allowing everyone
in the clinic to readily observe the
HIV status of a patient.
Women’s access to redress
and justice
Notwithstanding these obvious
violations and the existing
constitutional protections, many
women living with HIV continue
to fail to obtain redress for the
violation of their rights. Women
in South Africa are mindful of the
fact that they may take legal actions
when their rights are infringed upon,
in the sense that they are aware that
there are legal mechanisms in place
…rights violations
concerning
women living
with HIV are
treated as being
equally important
to those violations
concerning
other groups…
Way forward…
Each of these issues can only be
rectified through ending the stigma that
exists around HIV. Through educating
communities about the circumstances
that women are facing, and openly
discussing the virus, society will begin
to accept women living with HIV
and will progress towards ultimately
reducing the impact of the disease, as
people will be more likely to access
HIV-related services, and to receive
treatment. As this occurs, women will
be less fearful of taking legal actions and of disclosing their own
HIV status.
As society progresses, women will be inspired with the
realisation that their rights are significant, and that HIV does
not define those rights. All women will come to appreciate their
inalienable worth as human beings, and will be in a position to
better defend themselves from discrimination and violations
against their dignity. As society is educated, the negative
connotation against women with HIV will dissipate, as women will
be empowered and thus, in the position to pursue legal actions.
against her. If a woman brings a
case for a violation of rights in
terms of her HIV status forward,
she must then discuss her status and
the implications of it in a public
proceeding – an experience that
can be traumatic and can leave
the woman feeling vulnerable and
exposed. Despite this trauma, the
court may then rule against her,
holding that her rights were not in
fact violated or finding that those
living with HIV are not a special
class under the law. Such a finding
leaves the woman to have suffered
emotional distress to no effect.
Moreover, further problems arise
with the fact that when a woman
makes an accusation, she does so
knowing that her HIV status may
be revealed by a number of sources.
These sources include the police, the
courts, or private individuals who
are either directly faced with charges
or who have indirect knowledge of
the proceedings. These individuals
may not appreciate the ramifications
of disclosing the identity of someone
living with HIV or may have
personal motivations for disclosing
the woman’s status, because of
the charges that she is bringing.
Since many women choose not to
disclose their HIV status for fear
of the repercussions from family,
friends, and the community as a
whole, it seems easier
to remain quiet, since
doing so ensures that
her HIV status remains
confidential, and
protects the woman
from any potential
harm that she will
be exposed to, if her
status is revealed.20 Not
taking legal actions
thus is valued in
order to protect the
woman’s dignity.
Finally, women are not obtaining
redress, because they are fearful in
making complaints against those
who violate their rights. In many
instances, someone close to the
woman violates these rights, and
the woman does not wish to press
charges against someone with who
she has a relationship.21 In other
situations, the woman is faced with
domestic violence, leaving her
fearful of taking any legal actions
in order to prevent the situation
from worsening should the legal
mechanisms prove ineffective in
protecting her as someone with
HIV. Therefore, the woman is more
likely to accept the ill-treatment she
is receiving, and not take any legal
actions, out of fear that such actions
will anger her partner and worsen
the abuse after legal redress fails.
8 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 …more women
will be able to
obtain redress for
the abuse and
rights violations
they are
subjected to…
oppressive state and will have no means for protecting their
inherent human rights. Consequently, it is crucial that women
living with HIV are empowered through education about their
individual rights and through gaining the skills and capacity to
advocate on their own behalf in securing these rights through
the existing legal protections.
FOOTNOTES:
1. The Constitution of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996.
2. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Section 9.
3. Ibid, Section 10.
4. Ibid, Section 11.
5. Ibid, Section 12.
6. Ibid, Section 14.
7. Ibid, Sections 22-23.
8. Ibid, Section 27.
9. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women, Article 2; and Protocol to the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa,
Article 8.
10. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women, Article 12; and Protocol to the African Charter
on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa,
Article 14.
11. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on
the Rights of Women in Africa, Article 3. See also Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
12. Kehler, J. et al. 2012. Gender Violence & HIV: Perceptions and
experiences of violence and other rights abuses against women
living with HIV in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Western
Cape, South Africa. AIDS Legal Network, Cape Town. [www.aln.
org.za/downloads/Gender%20Violence%20&%20HIV2.pdf]
13. FIGO Committee for the Study of Ethical Aspects of Human
Reproduction and Women’s Health. 2006. ‘Ethical issues in
obstetrics and gynecology.
14. Ibid, Note 11, pp33-35.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid, Note 11, pp36-39.
1. Ibid, Note 11, pp22-24.
18. Ibid, Note 11; AIDS Legal Network. 2012. Fact Sheet: Perceptions
and Experiences of Violence Against Women Living with HIV in
Tafelsig and Beacon Valley, Western Cape, pp2-3.
19. Kehler, J. 2012. ‘We as people should change our attitudes’:
Perceptions and experiences of HIV-related stigma and
discrimination in the Northern Cape and North West, South Africa.
AIDS Legal Network, Cape Town.
20. Coalition on Women and AIDS. Violence Against Women and HIV/
AIDS: Critical intersections intimate partner violence and HIV/
AIDS.
21. FIGO Committee for the Study of Ethical Aspects of Human
Reproduction and Women’s Health. 2006. ‘Ethical issues in
obstetrics and gynecology. Note 11, pp39-40.
Jordin is a law student at the University of Utah, USA,
interning at AIDS Legal Network. For more information:
Jordin.Albers@law.utah.edu.
In addition to this, the courts
and the police will no longer be
influenced by discriminatory
attitudes. Consequently, there will
be more confidence in the fact that
the law will be interpreted fairly, and
that the rights of people with HIV
will be protected to the same extent
that any other group is protected.
With this confidence, claims based
on HIV-related violation of rights
will increase, and more women
will be able to obtain redress for
the abuse and rights violations they
are subjected to. Furthermore, the
police will view claims of this type
more seriously and will pursue
every action necessary to ensure
that the rights of all citizens are
fully protected. As rights violations
concerning women living with
HIV are treated as being equally
important to those violations
concerning other groups, the police
will be incentivised to provide such
cases with full protection, and will
no longer discriminate against cases
involving women with HIV.
Concluding remarks
It is true that even if the stigma
surrounding HIV is eliminated,
women will still fear domestic
abuse and harm from people who
they have close relationships with.
However, women will also be in a
position to have more confidence
in the legal systems. If women are
not discriminated against, they will
be more likely to bring cases to the
fore, because of the belief that these
cases would be successful and that
redress will be obtained.
In conclusion, it is only through
promoting change at an individual
level that the formal legal
mechanisms can effectively provide
protection for the rights of women
living with HIV. Without societal
acceptance and supportive attitudes
towards women living with HIV
women will continue to be in an
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 9
10 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 …if I knew what would happen
I would have kept it to myself…
[Western Cape]
…I remember it was in July
when one of my neighbours
shouted at me saying that
I’m spreading HIV, that’s why
people don’t buy from me
anymore. I was so shocked,
because I didn’t tell anyone
about my HIV status. I was so
embarrassed; I couldn’t even
go out of the house. I decided
to stay indoors with my kids to prevent being hurt by
our neighbours… [KZN]
…it is risky…you need to think carefully about
disclosing and that’s why I keep mine a secret…
[Western Cape]
…I was never abused before in my marriage, until I
started asking for condoms during sex…when I gave
my husband my test results, he said ‘I am so sorry my
wife, I didn’t tell you before that I am HIV positive’…
it was a week after I tested positive that the husband
wanted sex without a condom and that same week
the beating started. I was afraid to have sex with him,
because of my HIV status. He told me ‘you are not
going to tell me you’re not going to have sex with me.
I’m your husband and we are supposed to have sex,
because we have done it before’. I told him if I had
known he was HIV positive, I would not have taken
the risk of sex without a condom…the social worker
put me into an outreach centre for abused women
and children and I divorced my husband…
[Eastern Cape]
…it broke our family apart and ended my relationship,
it messed up everything, because of the blame…it’s
tough to deal with it… [Western Cape]
Women’s voices…
…on HIV positive status disclosure…1
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 11
…in the community, you
can’t tell someone you’re
HIV positive, not even your
neighbour…it’s not safe, they
will always reject you…you
can laugh, talk and sing with
them, but keep it quiet, because
they always will point fingers…
[Eastern Cape]
…although I was ready
to disclose my status, the
community was not ready to
accept me… [KZN]
…my friends were not informed
by me that I am HIV positive,
they just knew that I was
sickly…this didn’t stop them
preventing me from using
their cups that they use for
themselves when I visited them.
They had no shame in telling
me that I can’t use their toilets
either and they started telling
their children that they can’t
play with my children…I had
problems with my husband
too…this upset me so much and
it became so unbearable that I
moved away from that area to
where I am staying now…here I don’t tell anyone about
my status and we are happy here… [Western Cape]
…we are tired of people looking down on us and
discriminating against us…we are part of the
community, you should accept us…
[Eastern Cape]
…you will be called names and you will be told that
you’re useless…you lose friends that you were close
with, and when you lose friends you become lonely…
and the rest of the community start pointing fingers…
they discriminate you, because of your status…people
will define her as HIV positive and forget the person
behind the status… [KZN]
…it’s difficult, because if you don’t disclose you are
going to suffer and when you disclose you will be
stigmatised… [Eastern Cape]
…I must not be seen as a woman who is HIV positive,
but as a woman who is a human being… [KZN]
FOOTNOTE:
1. See Kehler, J. et.al. 2012. Gender Violence & HIV: Perceptions and
experiences of violence and other rights abuses against women living
with HIV in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape,
South Africa. AIDS Legal Network, Cape Town. [www.aln.org.za/
downloads/Gender%20Violence%20&%20HIV2.pdf]
For more information: jkaln@mweb.co.za
…it’s not safe, they will
always reject you…
…I was never abused
before in my marriage…
…they started telling their
children that they can’t
play with my children…
…it became so unbearable
that I moved away…
…you will be called
names and you will be told
that you’re useless…
12 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 At the Barcelona AIDS
Conference in 2002, the
world largely started
talking about ‘AIDS
having a woman’s
face’. It leaves me
bewildered, when we
run this statement off,
almost like a mantra, at
conferences, workshops
and campaigns, treating
it as some gold nugget
of breaking news. It’s
actually not!
Women and girls across
Africa, and indeed
the world, have
always known what it feels like to
carry the burden – the burden of
disease and the burden of violence in
all of its ugly forms – in and outside
of marriage, including marital rape,
female genital mutilation, maternal
mortality and the list goes on. I
wonder what kind of world we
would be living in if that list was
flipped on its side, and we had a
‘paternal mortality crisis’ on
our hands?
In 2008, a rural women’s
empowerment organisation, the
Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment
Programme (TVEP), with support
from Oxfam Novib, hosted South
Africa’s first National Dialogue
on Universal Access to Female
Condoms. This organisation has
seen thousands of women, and
men, go through its doors and
accessing a wide range of services
– from ground-breaking children’s
ARV adherence workshops to
comprehensive one-stop centres
of service and support to survivors
of sexual assault – in one of South
Africa’s most rural areas. In
retrospect there could have been no
better suited organisation to take
up the cause for female condoms in
South Africa.
At the frontlines of the impact of
sexual violence and HIV, especially
on women and girls, TVEP for many
years fought an uphill battle to get
provincial government to fund NGO
provided essential services, which
in reality was (and still is) the responsibility of government
to implement. A case in point is the funding of ‘care packs’
consisting of a toothbrush, face towel and underwear for
a woman who has just survived the trauma of rape. That
‘luxury’ has been funded over the years by the international
donor community, despite several appeals to the provincial
government – a telling sign indeed.
Universal access to female condoms: A human
rights concern
In 2008, TVEP convened a gathering focused on universal
access to female condoms as a ‘human rights issue’. Nearly five
Special report:
Side-lined, left-off the agendas and
underfunded…
Tian Johnson
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 13
years later, the landscape of
HIV prevention, especially for women
and girls, has changed dramatically;
and not always in ways that bode well
for gender equality.
South Africa is a country where
the sexual and reproductive health
and rights of women and girls are
too frequently side-lined, perpetually
underfunded, and the accountability
of government agencies tasked with
advancing these rights remains
elusive and seldom goes beyond lip
service. What other reason would
there be – more than a decade into
the female condom programme – for
women to still struggle to access
female condoms from public
health facilities?
So what has changed since 2008,
when the following declaration was
signed by some of the country’s
leading women’s rights,
faith-based and legal advocacy
groups, including South Africa’s
largest trade union COSATU?
We the undersigned declare:
1. Lack of adequate access to
female condoms constitutes a
human rights violation
2. An expanded definition of
human rights inclusive of such
issues as choice, accessibility
and gender should be
supported
3. Access to free and easily
accessible quality female
condoms restores women’s
self-esteem and dignity
4. The female condom is the only
female-initiated and -controlled prevention and protection
method, and as such, full participation of all stakeholders
and the private sector must be incorporated into any
strategy relating to access to female condoms
5. The inequitable distribution of female and male condoms
in the current National Strategic Plan is unacceptable and
should be challenged immediately
6. Social norms are the major drivers of discrimination and
inequalities and they contribute towards the feminisation
of HIV
7. The use of any condom further empowers people to reduce
the rate of reinfection, and to increase the total number of
protected sex acts
We further acknowledge that Universal Access to
Female Condoms can only be achieved through enhanced:
1. Resource allocation
2. Education and training
3. Infrastructure development and
4. Ensuring adequate policy implementation.
5. The roll-out of medical male
circumcision (MMC) as an
HIV prevention method need
to be further investigated as
to the impact on women’s
risks and vulnerabilities
to HIV. In the context of
potential decreased male
condom use, as a result
…responses have
historically been
narrated through
masculine voices
and articulated
through
patriarchal
systems…
14 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 of MMC programmes, we
strongly believe that universal
access to female condoms is
thus understood as
a pre-requisite.
Two years after the dialogue, and
in response to the 2010 mid-term
review of the National Strategic
Plan (which, among other, found
that the national AIDS body was not
user-friendly, failed to coordinate
provincial HIV responses, and
faced shortcomings in provincial
monitoring and evaluation), an
18 months restructuring took place
and a ‘fit for purpose’ National
AIDS Council was launched. With a
2012/2016 vision that commits
to a country with Zero new
HIV infections, Zero HIV-related
death, and Zero discrimination, and
goals that include the reduction of
new HIV infections by at least 50%
(through a combination of available
and new prevention methods and
ensuring an enabling and accessible
legal framework that protects
and promotes human rights), the
positioning of a woman’s right to the
only available female-initiated tool
to protect herself from HIV; the way
forward should, be clear. At least
in theory…
Access to female condoms:
The national response
The objectives of the NSP,
essentially our response roadmap
to the epidemic, include ‘to prevent
new HIV, STI and TB infections,
as well as to sustain health and
wellness’. The grand mission boldly
states that while progress has been
made – and will continue
to be improved – in the
treatment of AIDS, TB
and STIs, the ultimate
mission of the NSP in
the next three years is for
prevention to take centre
stage in the country’s
response to HIV. So,
with a track record in
commendable policy
speak, what does all of this mean for
women’s access to female condoms?
One of the emerging champions
of the ‘struggle’ for female condom
access and support is the SANAC
Women’s Sector. The fact that this
sector exists beyond an obligatory
mention in a policy document is a
reason to celebrate in and of itself!
As one of the 19 civil society sectors
represented on the plenary of the
National AIDS Council, this sector
appears to be a logical partner in
driving the female condom agenda.
As in any effort to advance the
rights of women and girls, this task
will not be without its challenges.
Intended to be a platform from
which women’s voices can be
raised and represented, the sector is
positioned in an epidemic, whose responses have historically
been narrated through masculine voices and articulated through
patriarchal systems. It is in such an environment that female
condom advocates need to approach the issue of universal
access to female condoms. As the Women’s Sector continues
to work within the National AIDS Council, as well as with the
Department of Health, our discussions and long overdue actions
need to focus on what universal access to female condoms
means in a tangible and accountable manner.
…ensure
that female
condoms
are never
introduced as
a stand-alone
product…
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 15
The newly launched multimedia,
nationwide ZAZI campaign, within
which the FC2 female condom
forms an integral part, reminds
women to use their inner strength
and to look inside themselves; to
know their strength, their value
and what it means to be really true
to themselves, so that they can
overcome adversity. This campaign
presents yet another opportunity
to mobilise communities in all of
their diversity to promote selfconfidence
amongst women, so
that they can draw upon their own
strength to make positive choices
for their future. It encourages
young women to resist peer
pressure and to define their own
values, so that they can prevent
unwanted pregnancies, HIV,
and have a safe pregnancy and
healthy baby as and when they
choose to become pregnant. The
campaign calls upon young women
to know their rights and what
they are capable of; to stand up
for themselves, and to have the
strength to define what they think
is right.
The very basic issue of the lack
of access to a female condom, and
all of the support that needs to go
with it, sadly, epitomises all of these
elements, and thus positions the
campaign as another key vehicle to
drive the HIV prevention agenda for
women and girls.
Female condom access
opportunities
The FC2 female condom is the
female condom that is available
in South Africa’s public
healthcare system, and
through a national network
of civil society partners1.
The FC2 is manufactured
by the Female Health
Company, the only
condom manufacturer
to attend a major 2012
Family planning Summit
in London, and one of
four private companies that made
a commitment to the summit’s
goals by pledging an estimated $23
million over an eight year period.
The company pledged to:
1. Invest up to $14 million over the
next six years in reproductive
health and HIV/AIDS prevention
education and training, in
collaboration with global
agencies;
2. Aggregate annual public sector
purchases from all large buyers
to set prospectively volumebased
discounts on unit pricing;
and
3. Award major purchasers
with free products, equal to 5
percent of their total annual
units purchased.
On 28 May 2013, the Global Poverty Project and Women
Deliver announced a new family planning campaign, It Takes
Two, to raise awareness of, increase demand for, and improve
access to family planning information and services around the
world. The Female Health Company has become one of the
product partners of the campaign, joining IPPF, The Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA, DANIDA, Marie Stopes,
and several other campaign partners in this essential work.
…requiring
an honest,
accountable look
at the status of
health, sexuality
and fundamental
rights of women
and girls in all
their diversity…
16 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 Over the last decade a team of
health professionals that I am proud
to be part of specialise in FC2
female condom programming and
training, SUPPORT Worldwide2,
has invested an estimated R300
million to assist organisations,
professionals and governments,
who want to increase the use
of FC2 female condoms; with
a significant amount of this
investment being dedicated to
supporting the South African
female condom programming
environment. Activists need to
ensure that female condoms are
never introduced as a stand-alone
product, but are provided with high
quality training and support.
Advocacy responses moving
forward…
In June 2013, civil society
organisations from around the
globe will write to the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, to not
only applaud the Foundation for
prioritising the development of the
‘next generation condom’, but also
urge the Foundation to build on,
and further support programming of
female condom products that
exist today.
Despite being in existence for
decades, the female condom still
needs to be highlighted on the
HIV prevention radar. We need to
encourage more investment into
HIV prevention overall within the
country Global Fund proposals, as
there seems to be consensus among
activists that the current focus is too
heavily biased towards treatment.
Under the prevention umbrella there
also needs to be targeted advocacy
that equally speaks to an increase in
female condom procurement
and promotion.
Effective female condom
programming can be used as a
catalyst for so many issues that
we face today; the daily reality
of violence against women,
unplanned pregnancies, poverty
and blatant misogyny – all drivers
of the pandemic and all requiring
an honest, accountable look at
the status of health, sexuality and
fundamental rights of women and
girls in all their diversity in
South Africa.
Let this be a year to look forward
to continuing our collective support
for a women’s sector that shakes
ALL patriarchal structures to their
very core when the most pressing
issues central to the lives of
women and girls are side-lined,
left-off agendas and underfunded.
Comfort and the maintenance of
the status quo have never resulted
in any change.
The female condom represents
many things, including an
opportunity to further dialogue and communications in
relationships, and an opportunity to measure our progress as
a people towards realising equality and dignity for all. And,
on the rapidly changing landscape of HIV prevention, the
female condom perhaps best represents an opportunity to
lay the groundwork for potential microbicide introduction,
an introduction that will be in peril from the start, if we fail
to tackle head-on the patriarchy that festers within and has
characterised our health systems for far too long.
Access to commodities is important, but they are only as
effective as the power that women and girls have to use them.
This is perhaps the new ‘freedom struggle’ in South Africa
in 2013.
FOOTNOTES:
1. See also www.femalecondom.org.
2. A division of the Female Health Company, manufacturers of the
FC2 Female Condom.
Tian is an HIV prevention advocate and the founder of the
African Alliance for HIV Prevention.
For more information: partnerships@inbox.com.
…the patriarchy
that festers
within and has
characterised our
health systems
for far too long…
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 17
Tuesday & Wednesday
Commercial sex workers’ experiences of
sexually transmitted diseases and perceived
susceptibility to HIV/AIDS in Ogbomoso,
Oyo State, Nigeria PS 1-114 2208111
People living with HIV are more likely to use a
condom, but not all! PS 1-138 2287880
Perceptions about the acceptability and
prevalence of HIV testing and factors
influencing them in different communities in
South Africa PS 1-140 2287985
The ‘victim victors’. Analysing the role women
play in HIV/AIDS care and prevention
PS 1-155 2276786
Strengthening and expanding HIV-related
legal services and rights to promote access to
HIV prevention, care and treatment services
PS 1-159 2285590
Masculinity, livelihoods and HIV risk in urban
informal settlements in South Africa
PS 1-166 2287895
Gender violence and HIV: Perceptions and
experiences of violence and other rights
abuses against women living with HIV
in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and
Western Cape PS 1-168 2287927
Perceptions and experiences of HIV-related
stigma and discrimination in the Northern
Cape and North West PS 1-172 2288039
Perceptions and implications of stigma
among HIV-positive SRH clients in Kenya
PS 1-176 2289262
Male involvement in the prevention of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV
programme in Mthatha, South Africa:
Women’s perspective
PS 1-182 2288143
HIV-related stigma as a barrier to PMTCT: The
case of Kiboga District, Uganda
PS 1-187 2287236
Thursday & Friday
School-based responses to sexuality
education and HIV prevention: Learner
engagement in the Life Orientation subject in
16 South African secondary schools
PS 2-1 2288303
HIV infection among most at-risk populations
of South Africa: Results from a
population-based survey PS 2-9 2288530
Factors associated with self-reported HIV
infection among South African women of
reproductive age PS 2-11 2288698
The influence of multiple sex partners,
condom use at first sex, beliefs, and the local
context on condom use In South Africa
PS 2-12 2288844
HIV risk and media consumption patterns:
Identifying a wide-reach medium to reach
young women with behaviour-change
communication
PS 2-15 2287888
‘I know about HIV and AIDS but my choices
as a woman are limited’: Implications of
gender inequalities for HIV prevention and
access to treatment PS 2-20 2288921
Reproductive and sexual rights in the context
of gender: Youths’ perspective in Northern
KwaZulu-Natal PS 2-25 2289293
The EMPACT framework for building
stigma-free faith communities PS 2-44 2283835
Making the case for SRH and HIV integration
in Zambia PS 2-77 2287912
Reducing HIV transmission, harmful cultural
practices and stigma and discrimination
through meaningful PLHIV participation – The
case of the STAR Circles in Malawi
PS 2-79 2287928
Strengthening networks and building
capacity to reduce the effects of HIV among
men who have sex with men, sex workers and
people who inject drugs in South Africa
PS 2-81 2287965
Are women at the centre? A critical review
of the NSP response to women’s sexual and
reproductive rights PS 2-87 2288236
Removing barriers, increasing access:
Operational guidelines for HIV programmes
for key populations in South Africa
PS 2-99 2288391
From practice to policy: A critical study of the
perceptions and use of the female condom by
women in Durban PS 2-109 2288574
We are not all the same! Using community
information to design a sex worker
programme in rural South Africa
PS 2-130 2286828
Involvement of women living with HIV in the
PMTCT programme In South Africa
PS 2-136 2288661
An exploratory study towards disclosure
of status and reduction of stigma for
people living with HIV/AIDS in a low
income community: The development of a
community-based framework
PS 2-153 2288298
Experiences of pregnant women living with
HIV/AIDS in the Vhembe District in the
Limpopo Province PS 2-162 2288137
Engaging men in South African
HIV policy for gender equality and
HIV prevention – Examples of best practice
and recommendations for improvement
PS 2-168 2288124
Advocacy: A tool to improve girls’ and young
women’s access to information on sexual and
reproductive health, and access to sexual and
reproductive health and services in Zambia
PS 2-188 2287913
Upcoming events…Poster Presentations
18 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 Tanzania has an estimated
1.6 million people living
with HIV, which is 6%
of the total population1.
HIV prevalence rates
vary greatly between the
regions, ranging from 16%
in the Iringa region to less
than 2% in Arusha2. Women
in Tanzania are most
infected with and affected
by HIV, comprising 60% of
all people living with HIV in
the country3.
The reasons for women’s
greater vulnerability to
HIV transmission and the
impact of HIV are multi-fold, including
women’s difficulties in negotiating safer
sex, because of gender-based violence4,
early marriages, and ‘inter-generational
sex’5. Especially in rural areas, women
face additional challenges of lack of
access to information and healthcare
services, further increasing women’s risk
to HIV.
Access to healthcare facilities in
Tanzania, especially in rural areas, is
worsened by the shortage of physicians,
which often results in a situation in
which only nurses are available in rural
clinics to treat patients.6 In addition, the
fact that qualified doctors and nurses
are emigrating to other countries,
because of better pay, conditions and
training opportunities, means that
health sector shortages remain a critical
problem to the scale-up of
HIV treatment, counselling and
prevention in Tanzania7; and hence the
provision of treatment to women in
rural areas is very difficult.
According to Article 19(1) of the
Tanzania HIV/AIDS Prevention and
Control Act, the government shall use
the available resources to ensure that
every person living with HIV, vulnerable
children and orphans are afforded
with basic health services8. In reality,
however, the government has failed
to provide adequate healthcare and
treatment in rural areas, which not only
greatly impacts on the extent to which
women are in the position to access
health services, including HIV-related
services, but also infringes on women’s
right to health.
The second National Multi Sectoral
Strategy Framework on HIV and AIDS
(2008-2012) analyses the factors
hindering the continuum of care,
treatment and support for people
living with HIV, especially for women
in rural areas, and provide strategies
to overcome these barriers. One of
Regional voices…
Rural women in Tanzania
…difficulties in negotiating
safer sex…
Agnes Junga
…health sector shortages
remain a critical problem…
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 19
the main challenges for addressing
these issues however is that Tanzania
as a country largely depends on donor
funds, with no internal sources of
funds for the provision of treatment,
leading to among other things the
disproportionate provision of and
access to treatment between the rural
urban areas.
The limited provision of treatment for
women in rural areas impacts not only
on the effectiveness of the country’s
response to women and HIV, but also
on women’s ability to claim and realise
their constitutionally guaranteed right
to dignity and life.9
FOOTNOTES:
1 See www.unaids.org/en/resources/
campaigns/20121120_globalreport2012/
results.
2 See www.tacaids.go.tz/hiv-and-aidsinformation/
about-hiv-and-aids.html.
3 See www.avert.org/hiv-aids-tanzania.htm.
4 UNAIDS. 2008. The HIV epidemic in
Tanzania Mainland: Where have we come
from, where is it going, and how are we
responding?.
5 See www.tanzania.go.tz/hiv_aids.html.
6 See www.avert.org/hiv-aids-tanzania.htm.
7 Ibid.
8 Tanzania HIV/AIDS Prevention and
Control Act (No 28 of 2008). [www.ilo.org/
aids/legislation/WCMS_125594/lang–en/
index.htm]
9 www.judiciary.go.tz/downloads/
constitution.pdf
Agnes is with the Southern Africa NGO
Network – Tanzania Chapter. For more
information: aggymike@yahoo.co.uk.
It is important to recognise and appreciate the
commitment to the AIDS response that South
Africa has shown in the past years. While we had
bumpy roads, we are getting it right now.
My expectation is that the conference premise
should be to influence the impact of the
AIDS response in South
Africa, and to stimulate
a better response to
mitigate the impact of a
feminised epidemic in the
country – where women
are still marginalised,
and women’s realities need a robust response
addressing intersecting issues. Thus, I am hoping
that this conference will very vigorously focus on
science, community involvement, community driven
initiatives, leadership, accountability
and monitoring interventions to advance
gender equality.
No turning tides
without changing minds…
www.aln.org.za
Conference expectations…:
20 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 Thus, it is critical to ensure that
responses to HIV are strengthened
to prevent violence against women
and girls, whilst at the same
time meeting women’s and girls’
specific needs for sexual and
reproductive healthcare services.
A holistic approach – ranging
from diagnosis and affordable
and accessible treatment to postdiagnosis
care and assessment for
all victims and survivors of all
forms of violence against women
and girls according to their specific
needs – must be adequately
resourced, and the processes in the
judicial, policing and legal systems
The challenges of preventing
and ending violence against
women and girls, as well as
providing access to quality
healthcare, including ARTs,
prevail the world over, as
resonated by the resolutions
of the 57th session of the
Commission on the Status
of Women (CSW) in March,
20131. Under the theme of the
2013 CSW (The elimination
and prevention of all forms
of violence against women
and girls), discussions
centred around the various
causes, forms and effects of
violence against women and
girls, as well as the various
approaches and strategies
to bring violence against
women and girls to an end,
and to adequately address its
intersections with HIV risks.
Notwithstanding the
political will to protect
women and girls
from violence, and commitments
to provide quality health services,
including HIV-related services to
all women and girls, concrete and
holistic responses to the prevention
and end of violence against women
and girls remain scarce.
According to the 2013 CSW
agenda, ‘risky behaviours’ leading
to violence, such as alcohol
consumption, are persistently
reported, despite the many
awareness raising campaigns
and information available. One
of the reasons might be
that the links between
gender-based violence and women
and HIV, poverty eradication, food
security, prevention of crime, and
education are still mostly lacking
in the conceptualisation, design and
implementation of programmes.
Very critical, as we come nearer
to the end of the MDGs2, is that
acceleration efforts are made to
ultimately prevent and end
gender-based violence against
women and girls, and to adequately
respond to the intersections between
gender-based violence and HIV.
…concrete
and holistic
responses to
the prevention
and end of
violence against
women and girls
remain scarce…
…critical to
ensure that
responses to HIV
are strengthened
to prevent
violence against
women and
girls…
In my opinion…
Progress and/or counter-productive effects…
Glenda Muzenda
6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 21
prevent and end
gender-based violence, and to
adequately and holistically respond
to the links between violence against
women and girls and HIV risks and
vulnerabilities – by highlighting
how the same impacts negatively on
the sexual and reproductive rights of
women and girls.
What is needed, is that the ‘beast of
violence’ be brought to its knees, as
we consider the next steps towards
achieving the goals of Zero new
infections, zero discrimination and
zero death going forward.
FOOTNOTES:
1. Commission on the Status of
Women, 57th Session, March 2013
[www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.
asp?symbol=E/CN.6/2013/L.5]
2. Millennium Development Goals 2015.
Glenda is a Doctoral Student
in Sociology at Stellenbosch
University in South Africa. For more
information: tglenda@gmail.com.
must allow for justice for women
and girls to prevail. In other
words, responding ‘holistically’
to gender-based violence has to
include ensuring that there are
adequate and sufficient sexual and
reproductive healthcare services,
and that women are in the position
to not only access women-centred
prevention methods, such as
female condoms, but to negotiate
safer sex, without exposing
themselves to the risk of violence
from their intimate partners.
Similarly, while it is critical that
all health needs, concerns and
consequences in the context
of gender-based violence are
responded to, it is equally important
to condemn actions in healthcare
centres that demean, degrade,
humiliate female patients,
and/or force medical procedures,
such as terminations of pregnancy
and sterilisation of women living
with HIV. Limited and/or denial of
access to services, as well as coerced
and forced procedures need to be
addressed as forms of gender-based
violence, as these are to be seen as
‘crimes against humanity’, in which
justice does not prevail, and the state
often fails to take accountability,
to intervene, and, so doing, fails
to prevent (and end) such violence
against women and girls.
It comes as no surprise that sexual
violence, and many other forms
of violence, were debated and
discussed openly on a global level
at CSW, given the events in the
last six months concerning sexual
violence against and rape of women
and girls globally, and in South
Africa especially. As the 2013
Durban AIDS Conference begins,
it is a desire that key aspects of the
deliberations include the dire need to
…meeting
women’s and
girls’ specific
needs for sexual
and reproductive
healthcare
services…
…responding
‘holistically’ to
gender-based
violence has to
include ensuring
that there are
adequate and
sufficient sexual
and reproductive
healthcare
services…
22 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 The South African National AIDS Council Women’s
Sector Secretariat [SANACWSS] looks toward
the upcoming 6th National AIDS Conference
in Durban as a critical point of engagement and
consultation among development partners, members
of the broader women’s sector and key government
stakeholders engaged in the national HIV response.
Women in Sub-Saharan Africa carry a disproportionate
burden of disease being infected and affected by
HIV. Recent data speaks to condom use among youth
decreasing, with a
correlated increase in the
number of young women
contracting HIV and
reporting of unwanted
pregnancies. To bring
down prevalence rates
and turn the tide on the
epidemic, the SANACWSS
hopes that the 2013 SA AIDS Conference will clearly
respond to the need to place women at the centre of
HIV prevention and treatment policies and
programming. As such emerging programmes should
speak to the inherent gender inequalities characterising
women’s access to, and uptake of, resources that seek to
reduce and mitigate the impact of HIV.
Identifying mechanisms to address gender inequality at
a social and institutional level cannot be seen as a ‘nice
to have’; it must to be an inherent part of
HIV programme and policy formulation, monitoring
and evaluation mechanisms. We need to move from the
development of interventions imposed on women to a
national response that is characterised by meaningful
participation, consultation and capacity building, to
ensure that as women we move from being positioned
as programme beneficiaries to a space where we are
driving and owning the agenda that impacts on our
lived realities. As such it is our hope that in the 2013
conference we move beyond a recognition of gender
inequality as a driver of the epidemic, to one where
all panellists respond to how they address (and/or
recognise as critical) addressing gender inequalities in
their areas of focus.
The leadership of the SANACWS further looks forward to
continued engagement and opportunities to work with
all stakeholders to scale-up the national response to
address the pervasive gender inequalities that continue
to drive women’s vulnerability to HIV.
[Greer Schoeman, SANAC Women’s Sector Secretariat]
Conference expectations…:
CHANGE
ATTITUDES
we as people need to
OUR
STIGMA + VIOLENCE = HIV = STIGMA + VIOLENCE
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6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013 23
I have the right to protect myself…
and be safe…
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Are we really
protecting human rights?
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24 6th SA AIDS Conference, Durban • 18 – 21 June 2013
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
16:00 – 18:00
Opening Session Hall 1
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
07:30 – 08:30
Gender-based violence against women living with HIV and
Human Rights Count!: Implications for policy, legislation
and programming Hall 4
11:30 – 13:00
Translating science into community practice Hall 2
Behavioural change communication Hall 3
Symposium: The use of contraception in the context of
the HIV epidemic Hall 8
14:00-15:30
Satellite: South African national perspective on delivering
comprehensive combination HIV prevention Hall 6
18:00-20:00
Symposium: Linking HIV prevention research in South Africa
to the realities of women’s lives Hall 8
Thursday, 20 June 2013
07:30-08:30
Satellite: Structural issues and HIV & AIDS prevention:
Alcohol, gender, culture and livelihoods Hall 2
Satellite: Cinderella’s slipper: Forcing the shoe to fit,
addressing social change challenges Hall 5
09:00-11:00
Plenary Hall 1
11:30-13:00
Stigma-reduction interventions Hall 2
Gender issues Hall 7
14:00-15:30
Symposium: Gender-based violence and HIV Hall 10
Symposium: Sexual and reproductive rights for
HIV-positive people Hall 2
Symposium: Removing barriers, increasing access:
Government-led initiatives to improve the HIV response
for key populations in South Africa Hall 5
16:00-17:30
Particularly vulnerable populations Hall 1
Symposium: What does ‘sex’ mean and is our understanding
of sex fit for the purpose of planning HIV prevention? Hall 8
19:00-21:00
Gala Entertainment Hall 1
Friday, 21 June 2013
09:00-11:00
Plenary Session Hall 1
11:30-13:00
Closing Session Hall 1
Supported by the Oxfam HIV and AIDS Programme
(South Africa) and the Ford Foundation
Editor: Johanna Kehler jkehler@icon.co.za
Photography: Johanna Kehler jkehler@icon.co.za
DTP Design: Melissa Smith melissas1@telkomsa.net
Printing: FA Print www.aln.org.za www.athenanetwork.org
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