Prevention of HIV in Women and Girls Depends on Strengthening the Enabling Environment

Karen Hardee, Hardee Associates, LLC and Population Reference Bureau
Jill Gay, Independent Consultant
Melanie Croce-Galis, Artimis Consulting

Women make up 50% of PLWHA. As global attention focuses on their unique vulnerabilities, implementing interventions that work specifically for women and girls is critical. This paper reviews 63 successful interventions to strengthen the enabling environment for women and girls. Environmental factors, including legal rights, employment, income, education, violence, traditional gender norms, and stigma/discrimination, determine whether any HIV intervention will truly help women and girls. Multi-pronged community-based approaches that include the media and religious leaders have been successful.Community-based participatory learning approaches involving men and women have created more gender equitable relationships, decreasing violence against women and HIV risk. Community-based approaches promoting legal rights are stronger when backed up with reform to enforce laws protecting widows’ property. Integration of HIV/AIDS information with community-based women's empowerment and micro-finance programs can reduce GBV and increase protective behavior. Community-based interventions that provide accurate information about HIV transmission, and training providers, can reduce S&D.

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Presented in Session 2: HIV Prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health Service Linkages