U.S. will contribute $3 million to aid in the fight against gender-based violence and the increased vulnerability to HIV that results from it.
The U.S. will contribute $3 million in new funding to grassroots organizations worldwide to aid in the fight against gender-based violence and the increased vulnerability to HIV that results from it. U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer announced the grants to jointly mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 27th) and World Aids Day (December 1st).
One in three women worldwide will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime, and in some countries, 70 percent of female populations are affected. Gender-based violence increases women and girls’ overall vulnerability to HIV, with country studies indicating an up to three-fold risk of HIV infection among women who experience violence.
The grants are part of a joint initiative between the State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. They will address the link between gender-based violence and AIDS and support the work of 35 organizations in 28 countries. Grassroots organizations will receive grants of up to $100,000 to fund a host of community-based projects.
The grants will fund innovative programs linking HIV prevention, treatment and care to prevention and response to gender-based violence. These will include programs that engage community leaders in the fight to prevent these scourges. They will also fund programs that seek to strengthen legal and judicial systems to ensure full enforcement of laws against gender-based violence. Some programs will address victim care and response efforts, including the fight to reduce stigmas associated with gender-based violence and with AIDS.
Addressing gender inequities and norms is essential to reducing the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV infection.
“It is time,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “For all of us to assume our responsibility to go beyond condemning this behavior, to taking concrete steps to end it, to make it sociably unacceptable, to recognize it is not cultural; it is criminal.”