Maria de Bruyn is the Senior Policy Advisor for Ipas.
"Gender-based violence and HIV: making the connection" was the theme for an evening satellite meeting convened by the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) and the ATHENA Network. Chairs Sofia Gruskin of Harvard University and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland now with the Ethical Globalization Initiative, invited panelists from Africa, North America and Latin America to speak about intersections between gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV. Other delegates then offered information on approaches they used, challenges they faced and ideas about how to move forward.
Awino Okech (Mother Tongue, South Africa) called on those present not only to address HIV infection resulting from domestic and sexual violence, but also violence in response to women's voluntary or involuntary disclosure of their positive HIV status. She also asked for honesty in addressing the fact that some women become positive because they, like men, choose to have extramarital relations; a focus on sexuality needs to be added to our analyses.