Marital violence deeply impacts a woman's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
That's what a recently released study, 'When HIV-Prevention Messages and Gender Norms Clash', underlined clearly. The study showed that community gender norms tacitly sanction domestic violence and interfere with the adoption of HIV-preventive behaviour.
Faced with the immediate threat of violence, with the relatively hypothetical spectre of HIV in the background, women often submit to unprotected sex with their husbands, even when they are fully aware of the man's risk-taking behaviour. This makes them more vulnerable to the risk of acquiring HIV. The study was conducted by Dr Suniti Solomon under the aegis of her organisation YRG Care (Y R Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education), Chennai, in partnership with the John Hopkins University, USA.
According to UNAIDS, women constitute nearly half of the 37 million adults living with HIV in the world.
|Faced with the immediate threat of violence, with the relatively hypothetical spectre of HIV in the background, women often submit to unprotected sex with their husbands.
Says Dr A K Srikrishnan, one of the authors of the study, "HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention efforts have consistently focused on two main messages: practice mutual monogamy and use condoms. However, in many societies, the economic and social freedoms of women are constrained, leading to powerlessness in adopting HIV-preventive behaviour."