n May 10, AIDSFree, USAID’s global HIV/AIDS project providing support and technical assistance to teams working around the world, held a discussion on Lessons from the PEPFAR Gender-Based Violence Initiative. The lessons focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Tanzania during two panel discussions. The first panel looked at lessons from the initiative while the second panel examined the next steps through reflections from the field.
Speakers included Janet Saul, the Senior Gender Advisor in the Division of Global HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Jennifer Adams, USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Global Health. The panels were also highlighted with experts from USAID, CDC, PEPFAR, and other international and local organizations that are all participating in the initiative.
The Gender-Based Violence Initiative, which was launched by PEPFAR in 2011, was designed to integrate GBV prevention and response into existing HIV prevention, care and treatment programs at health facility, community and policy levels. Women and girls are at high risk of contracting HIV and Adams stated at the event that the “risk of HIV can be three times as high for women who have experienced violence than those who have not, and in some cases, sexual violence can lead directly to HIV infection.” As a result, the international public health community recognizes that addressing harmful gender norms and inequities, and preventing and responding to gender-based violence are essential strategies for reducing HIV risk; mitigating its impact; and increasing access to services.
According to Adams, the objectives of the $55 million, three-year, interagency initiative were to demonstrate gender-based violence prevention and response could be integrated into the existing PEPFAR platform, and to understand what the best approaches are for achieving a successful integrated response both in clinical facilities and in community facilities. The event was put together so that participants and panelists could have the opportunity to share lessons, discuss what was learned in the three countries and in the trial, and to look at what we need to do moving forward.
Click here to learn more about the initiative or to access the Synthesis Report and the individual reports from all three countries.
AIDSFree is led by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., together with seven partners, including IMA World Health. IMA specifically helps build the capacity of faith-based networks to address HIV effectively.