The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is the main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the epidemic. UNAIDS aims to lead, strengthen and support an expanded response to HIV and AIDS that includes preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support to those already living with the virus, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV and alleviating the impact of the epidemic. The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS is a partnership between United Nations agencies and civil society organizations seeking to call attention and spur action to address the increasing HIV infection rates among women and girls.
UNAIDS policy position paper: Practical guidelines for intensifying HIV prevention (2007) draws specific attention to the fact that strategies to reduce violence against women are essential to a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy for women.
UNAIDS pays particular attention to the intersections between violence against women and the threat of violence, and HIV prevention, treatment and care for women and girls. The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS strategy covers policy development, research and awareness-raising.
UNAIDS co-sponsors also take a lead on violence against women, particularly WHO, UNFPA, and UNICEF. In May 2009, UNAIDS issued a policy document -- Joint Action for Results: the UNAIDS Outcome Framework 2009-2011 -- which outlines priority action areas in the AIDS response and opportunities to link the AIDS agenda to broader development goals and the MDGs.
One of the priority areas identified for concerted action by UNAIDS and cosponsors is reducing violence against women. The document commits UNAIDS to use its convening role, advocacy and programming resources to reduce sexual and intimate partner violence through appropriate entry points in the AIDS response. UNAIDS is an active partner in the inter-agency initiative UN Action against sexual violence in conflict.
Leveraging existing accountability mechanisms for legal and policy action, UNAIDS, UNDP, UN Women and OHCHR jointly organized a briefing of the CEDAW committee on the link between HIV and violence against women.Hide
UNAIDS is supporting a number of actions to highlight the link between violence against women and HIV, as well as the role of the HIV response in overcoming violence against women. These include Country consultations led by the Women Won’t Wait campaign; and a high level panel during the CSW on the linkages between violence against women and HIV.Hide
The UNAIDS Secretariat provided comprehensive support for the 2011 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS. The resulting Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV/AIDS highlights the need to eliminate violence against women.Hide
In September 2009, UNAIDS helped launch and lead a new initiative to prevent sexual violence against girls, which unites the work of five UN agencies with the Clinton Global Initiative and the US Centers for Disease Control, with a particular emphasis on AIDS affected countries. Six countries have begun data collection and programmatic action to strengthen legal and judicial policies as well as health, child protection and community responses to reduce sexual violence.Hide
UNAIDS undertook two reviews focusing on violence against women and AIDS: (1) a review of the gender policies of the three major AIDS financing institutions – the World Bank, the US President’s Emergency Planfor AIDS relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) – with a view towards strengthening harmonization and coordination of approaches; and (2) a review of over 50 national strategic plans on AIDS to ascertain the degree to which gender issues were integrated.Hide
UNAIDS works closely with its co-sponsors (WHO, UNPFA, UNICEF), and partners (UNIFEM, Amnesty International, the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, and others) to better understand and document the linkages between violence against women and AIDS.Hide
In June 2011, UNAIDS presented the findings of the “Scorecard on Gender Equality in National HIV Responses”, which monitors country-level progress on implementing the UNAIDS Agenda for Women and Girls. As of December 2011, 93 countries reported data which show that less than one fifth (18 of 93) of countries have national data on the intersection between gender-based violence and HIV; and 40% (38 of 93) of countries’ health sector policies address gender-based violence.Hide
The UNAIDS Secretariat, together with UN, development partners and civil society, worked to develop a global indicator on “prevalence of recent intimate partner violence”, to raise the political awareness accordingly. The indicator has been included in the Global AIDS Response Progress Reporting for 2012 to enable national reporting on violence in the context of HIV.Hide
The UNAIDS Secretariat is a member and supports the innovative public-private partnership, “Together for Girls”, to end sexual violence against girls, which has initiated additional studies in Kenya and Zimbabwe, to increase awareness on violence.Hide
UNAIDS supported countries to collect data and report on the proportion of ever-married or partnered women aged 15-49 who experienced physical or sexual violence from a male intimate partner in the past 12 months. This was reported for the first time in the 2012 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/epidemiology/2012/gr2012/20121120_UNAIDS_Global_Report_2012_en.pdfHide