Decrease in women abuse = decrease in HIV infections, say researchers

"Between one in four and one in five [20% to 25%] of HIV infections in young South African women can be attributed to gender-based violence, according to South African and Ugandan research," said Rachel Jewkes from the Medical Research Council at the sixth National Aids Conference in Durban this week.

According to Jewkes, the main pathway to HIV infection because of gender-based violence is not rape as many people might think. "What's responsible for much more of the new infections are the indirect pathways, such as the profound psychological impact this violence has on abuse victims including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse."

Jewkes said two things occured as a result of this psychological distress to increase these women's risk of contracting HIV. 

"Firstly they are more likely to have risky sex, more partners, transactional sex, and are also more likely to end up in sex work," she said.

Psychological distress, according to Jewkes, also makes it much harder for women to protect themselves. "It makes them more likely to accept the man's dominance in the relationship."

She said that once a woman accepts she is likely to have more sex and more frequent sex, she is also less likely to use a condom. 

"Gender based violence is responsible for the psychological distress, which results in acceptance, which results in more violence and consequently more psychological distress: a cycle of risk and consequence," said Jewkes. 

Another factor that significantly increases these women's chances of becoming HIV infected is that men who perpetrate gender-based violence are more likely to have HIV themselves. "Violent and controlling men take more sexual risks and have a higher prevalence of sexually transmitted infections," she said.

Jewkes said that women who experience intimate partner violence have a 50% increased risk for HIV than women who don't. 

"Clearly if we want zero new HIV infections we have to address gender-based violence," she said. 

                                                           

Advertisting

The business of unfinished busines

Physical and psychological violence will continue unless we self-reflect on our apartheid scars

Coronavirus: South Africa will evacuate citizens from Wuhan

The government is expected to evacuate citizens from Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated

Primedia CEO Essack leaves following internal battles

Omar Essack leaves the 702 and 94.7 owners after a protracted standoff with the board

‘We’re satisfied with SA’s land reform policy’— US Ambassador

Top US official is lobbying multinational firms to invest in South Africa

Press Releases

Tourism can push Africa onto a new path – minister

The continent is fast becoming a dynamic sought-after tourist destination

South Africa’s education system is broken and unequal, and must be fixed without further delay

The Amnesty International report found that the South African government continues to miss its own education upgrading targets

Business travel industry generates billions

Meetings Africa is ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity

Conferences connect people to ideas

The World Expo and Meetings Africa are all about stimulating innovation – and income

SAB Zenzele Kabili B-BBEE share scheme

New scheme to be launched following the biggest B-BBEE FMCG payout in South Africa’s history

Digging deep

Automation is unstoppable, but if we're strategic about its implementation, it presents major opportunities

TFSAs are the gymnasts of the retirement savings world

The idea is to get South Africans to save, but it's best to do your research first to find out if a TFSA is really suited to your needs

Achieving the litmus test of social relevance

The HSS Awards honours scholarly works based on their social relevance and contribution to the humanities and social sciences