In Jamaica, as in many parts of the world, HIV and AIDS create a specter of fear and persecution leading to stigma, discrimination and, for many, the concealment of the disease.
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.