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Informing the Field

The Intersection of Women, Violence, and HIV

AIDS United is pleased to announce a partnership with AbbVie to support a collaboration with federal government, academics, and community advocates focused on the intersection of women, violence, and HIV/AIDS. Using the recommendations in the report from the President’s Federal Interagency Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities as a launching point, AIDS United will work with public and private stakeholders to forge a roadmap of community-driven advocacy and programmatic strategies to address this critical intersection that presents a barrier to HIV prevention and care.

 Informing the Field

Prioritizing this work is echoed by many of our critical partners:

Naina Khanna"As a national membership body of women living with HIV, Positive Women's Network - USA (PWN-USA) notes that the release of the report marks a historic step forward in addressing the US epidemic. In particular, we believe the workgroup's recommendations to expand services such as screening for intimate partner violence and developing trauma-informed care for women living with HIV are long overdue. Data from a University of California - San Francisco study shows that women living with HIV suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at rates six times the general population of women. Lifetime trauma and its subsequent effects perpetuate negative health outcomes and negatively impact the ability of people with HIV to engage in the health care system - thus undermining the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. As recommended by the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, the Strategy's Implementation Plan should be updated with goals and metrics for women, using indicators that follow logically from this report."

Naina Khanna, Executive Director, Positive Women’s Network-USA

Eddy Machtinger"The creation of the President's Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities (Working Group) in March 2012 represented a tipping point in our country's awareness that unaddressed trauma fuels every aspect of the HIV epidemic among women - from predisposing women to becoming infected to negatively affecting their health outcomes at every stage of the HIV care cascade. The release of the Working Group's report in September 2013 represents a historic national commitment to addressing trauma as a means to reduce new HIV infections and improve health outcomes for women living with HIV. The five core action items identified in the report are remarkable because they call for a vigorous new effort to enhance screening for trauma and develop novel interventions to address it among both women at-risk for and living with HIV. This work addressing trauma among women at-risk for, and living, with HIV is very exciting because it has implications for many other populations of men and women affected by high rates of unaddressed trauma."

Eddy Machtinger, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director of Women’s HIV Program, University of California at San Francisco

Linda H. Scruggs"While this report represents an important step in the right direction, we must remember that it really is just one step forward in a very long journey to eradicate violence against women, including women living with HIV, in the United States. Is this report enough to stop what will happen to a majority of women living with HIV this week, next month, or even next year? No. But it is one more step forward. Violence is such an integral part of our society that women in violent relationships will continue to suffer until we decide as a nation to change the community norm around violence. What can be done in the meantime? With expedited execution of the recommendations outlined in the report and adequate resources to implement these recommendations, we can make sure that every woman impacted by HIV who wants to begin her life anew by getting out of a violent relationship can do so. We can provide culturally relevant education and effective tools for parents and caretakers to teach their children how to discern the signs of an abusive relationship; and address the structural factors which enslave many women impacted by HIV in lives that are violent both inside and outside their homes. As a woman living with HIV, who has seen intimate partner violence first hand and spent hours discussing it with other women who have experienced greater horrors than I could ever imagine, I eagerly anticipate next steps from the report. Let’s move beyond a report from federal agencies to a place where we can implement strategies and advocacy in our world where too many women and girls are experiencing violence."

Linda H. Scruggs, Director, Ribbon Consulting Group

AIDS United will continue and expand our innovative partnerships with public agencies and community advocates to provide the HIV/AIDS community with strategies to overcome this intersectional barrier to ending the epidemic.

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