AIDS and security: new evidence, new actions
22 September 2009
A report published today by the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative (ASCI) provides new evidence and outlines recommendation for actions on the links between security, conflict, peacebuilding and HIV.
The report entitled HIV/AIDS, Security and Conflict: New Realities, New Responses is the result of a three year research programme lead by the ASCI. It brings together and summarizes findings from 29 studies using a variety of different qualitative and quantitative research approaches; the programme engaged research partners in 17 different countries. The studies cover four thematic areas: HIV and fragile states, uniformed services, humanitarian crisis and post-conflict transitions, and cross-cutting issues such as gender, data collection and measurement – as such the report provides key evidence for policy-making.
New approaches needed
Demonstrating the impact HIV has on security, the ASCI report outlines how security crises and security institutions can influence HIV incidence. Importantly, the study indicates that with good policy and appropriate programmes, challenges can be overcome. It recommends 10 ways in which efforts towards peacekeeping, peacebuilding and humanitarian response can integrate HIV issues. These include:
- Greater attention to the links between violence against women, forced sex, and reaching out to people who control sex workers and sex trafficking.
- Address the gap in HIV services which can appear in the time between relief and development programmes. This can be addressed if HIV prevention, care, treatment and support are integrated into disarmament and demobilization efforts.
- Create awareness on how criminalization of injecting drug use, sex work and men who have sex with men alienate populations at higher risk making them harder to reach with HIV prevention and other health services.
- Explore the possible advantages of a “Command Centered Approach” by placing responsibility for AIDS policy at the highest level of command within the military to allow for armies to achieve both the highest level of effectiveness and best practices in HIV prevention, treatment and care.
Aligning efforts to prevent HIV
Commenting on the new report, Mr Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, said: “these findings underscore the importance of aligning efforts to prevent sexual violence, and HIV prevention – these connections have yet to be well established within the global context of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.” The UNAIDS Outcome Framework 2009-2011 includes as two of its nine priority areas stopping violence against women and girls as well as removing punitive laws, practices, stigma and discrimination that block an effective response to AIDS.
AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative (ASCI)
ASCI is a joint global research initiative between the Social Science Research Council (New York) and Clingendael Institute for International Relations (the Hague), with the aim of informing policy and programming through strengthening the evidence base and addressing critical gaps in knowledge on AIDS and security.
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