by Cynthia Rothschild, Center for Women's Global Leadership
December 14, 2006 - 6:55 am
Cynthia Rothschild is Senior Policy Advisor to the Center for Women's Global Leadership.
Usually when we think of the HIV pandemic, we think of one big health crisis, and a lot of "mini-pandemics" under its umbrella, many of which are based in social "ills" of some sort. Crises in immigration. Under-resourced or even failing health care systems. Millions of kids who have or will lose their parents to AIDS. But we too infrequently think of HIV as part of *another* pandemic – that of the universal and seemingly un-abating crisis of gender-based violence (GBV) And, more to the point here, we (I understand this "we" to be quite broad: activists, policymakers, researchers, academics, health care providers, teachers, etc.) – "we" writ large – have not paid close enough attention to the ways these social and health crises are linked. HIV and gender-based violence, and violence against women in particular, are mutually reinforcing. In too many circumstances, they invent each other, as cause and consequence.