Title Original Language:
Report on Gender Equality, Women's Empowerment (GEWE) and HIV in Africa: The impact of intersecting issues and key continental priorities
Abstract in English:
The complex interplay of social, economic and structural drivers, including poverty, gender inequality, unequal power relationship , gender-based violence, social isolation and limited access to schooling increase the HIV vulnerability of women and girls. Furthermore these factors deprive them of voice and the ability to make decisions regarding their lives, reduce their ability to access services that meet their needs, increase their risks of violence or other harmful practices, and hamper their ability to mitigate the impact of AIDS. Adolescent girls and young women are more than twice as likely to acquire HIV as their male peers. AIDS-related illnesses remain one of the leading causes of death for women of reproductive age (aged 15 to 44 years) in Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women and adolescent girls accounted for one in four new infections in 2019, despite making up about 10% of the total population. In addition, only about one third of young women in sub Saharan Africa have accurate, comprehensive knowledge about HIV. Nearly 30% of women aged 15 years and above have experienced gender-based violence with intimate partner violence ranging from 13% - 97%. During displacement and times of crisis, the risk of gender-based violence significantly increases for women and girls. Forty years of responding to HIV has taught the global community that a human rights-based approach is essential to create enabling environments for successful HIV responses and to affirm the dignity of people living with, or vulnerable to HIV. This study is timely and is set against the backdrop of several global and regional commitments that address systemic inequalities and those that respond to HIV including Africa’s Agenda 2063, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Maputo Plan of Action, and the 2021 Political declaration on AIDS. It highlight how gender intersects with other drivers of inequalities such as income, age, gender-based violence, stigma, discrimination and child marriage to exacerbate the vulnerability and susceptibility of women to HIV infection and also influence the health outcomes. Demands for social and gender transformative approaches are building as the HIV response reaches an important milestone and is moving towards the last mile. Countries have implemented several comprehensive best practice programmes focused on increasing the agency, economic empowerment and improving access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights (SRH&RR) services for adolescent girls and young women such as the DREAMS, SASA, HER programme and She Conquers with positive outcomes reported. Greater investments in these proven innovations is required to sustain and accelerate progress towards the 2030 goals. Member States have demonstrated political will and leadership to address HIV. Eastern and Southern Africa has provided leadership by increasing their domestic resource allocation to HIV programs by 26% between 2010 and 2019.