HIV&AIDS services that are blind to human rights have increased Gender based Violence
Through the intervention on HIV/AIDS, it has been realized that, HIV and AIDS programmes that are rolled out to the communities without consulting the people they are targeting have contributed to an increase in gender based violence simply because they target the powerless who are mainly women and children. The programmes in themselves are good but the implementation strategy is what is lacking. A case in point is PMTCT which mainly target women because of their biological roles. The PMTCT mandates a woman to disclose her HIV status to her partner and request him to a have the HIV test. The dilemma is that this is not critically analyzed to understand its implication at a family level.How can you tell a goat to bring a lion?
There is a scenario of a woman from Kitgum,Northern Uganda who had gone to one of the HIV and AIDS service providers and was given a packet of condoms. She was told to keep them in a cool dry place and when she reached at home, she looked around for a cool dry place. The only cool dry place she could find was the roof top of her grass thatched hut. When the husband came back in the evening he noticed something new on the roof and wanted to find out what exactly it was.
The man reached up and found a packet of condoms. He did not give the woman a chance to explain how the condoms found their way on the roof top. She was beaten and accused of promiscuity.
At the moment women have found better ways of utilizing the condoms by using them to light fire especially the charcoal stove. So where as service providers attribute their success to the numbers of condoms distributed, the actual reality is that the intended result may not be attained
Lastly the issue of culture, the invisible power which is embedded in patriarchy and quiet often used to instill fear in women. The cultural beliefs, practices and attitudes of most of our societies perpetuate a lot of injustice to women and do not recognize the human rights of women. One of them is wife inheritance. In the two communities where the project is being implemented, when a man dies, his wife has to be inherited. If she refuses all the property is grabbed from her.
It is our responsibility to ensure that women especially those living with HIV and AIDS are protected from such injustice and take control of their lives. When women are availed the knowledge and tools they take charge of their lives and play a key role in transforming the lives of communities
For more information visit: http://advancing-rights-of-women.blogspot.com/