HIV and AIDS

AIDS2012: Thought Leaders to Discuss Social Inequities Fueling Epidemic

ICRW co-hosts panel discussion to launch new global research consortium
Mon, 07/23/2012

ICRW on July 24 will co-host an event to launch STRIVE, a new global research consortium investigating how to address social inequities that continue to drive the AIDS epidemic. The discussion is part of this week’s International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) on July 24 will co-host an event to launch a new global research consortium that will focus on investigating how to best address social inequalities that drive HIV.  The event is part of this week’s International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. 

Called STRIVE, the consortium is made up of six partners, including ICRW in Washington, D.C., and its Asia regional office in New Delhi, India, as well as other organizations from Tanzania, India and South Africa. The six-year effort is funded by the UK Department for International Development and managed by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. 

“STRIVE represents an opportunity to build more evidence for what our research at ICRW has long shown—that a biomedical approach alone will not slow the rate of HIV infection throughout the world,” said Katherine Fritz, director of ICRW research and programs in global health. “It’s imperative that we also tackle the sometimes unseen but powerful forces at play – like poverty and gender inequality – that continue to make people more vulnerable to HIV and impede their access to critical treatment and prevention services.” 

The official kick off of STRIVE will include an introduction to the partner organizations and a panel discussion with leaders from around the world who are engaged in efforts to craft HIV programs that respond to the social, economic and political forces shaping the epidemic. 

STRIVE will aim to understand how forces such as gender inequality and violence, poor job prospects, stigma, and social norms around alcohol consumption fuel the AIDS epidemic – as well as undermine the effectiveness of HIV treatment and prevention programs. Researchers also will investigate what programs are effectively tackling these social, political and economic factors and how they can be expanded affordably. Finally, experts will determine how best to translate the STRIVE research into policy and on-the-ground programs. 

“If we intend to eliminate HIV from the planet,” Fritz said, “we have to design innovative programs that address these macro-level drivers of HIV risk by linking and engaging with development sectors outside of health.” 

Globally, there has been a resurgence in biomedical approaches – such as antiretroviral treatment as a prevention tool and medical male circumcision – to address the HIV epidemic.  At the same time, the global economic downturn has amplified calls to streamline HIV programs by concentrating funding into programs with proven impact. This has caused some governments and donor agencies to shy away from investing in multi-sectoral programs to address structural influences on the epidemic. Few of these types of programs have rigorous evidence of effectiveness. 

“This is why ICRW and its STRIVE partners believe that generating evidence to support the viability of addressing how social, political and economic issues in HIV programming is more important than ever,” Fritz said. 

Although ICRW’s specific contribution to STRIVE is still being finalized, Fritz suggested that ICRW could build on an existing body of work that examines the links between high alcohol consumption and HIV transmission. Under the consortium, researchers from ICRW’s Washington office also may address how to reduce stigma that inhibits pregnant women living with HIV from using services that could prevent transmission of the virus to their babies. 

Meanwhile, researchers based in New Delhi will expand Parivartan, an ICRW program for boys focused on changing norms around masculinity and violence against women. The expanded approach will now incorporate girls, and links between gender norms and violence, substance and alcohol use, sexuality and HIV. Under STRIVE, ICRW researchers also will document the adaptation and implementation of a stigma-reduction framework into five key sectors to advocate for a possible integration into India’s National AIDS Control Policy. 

Related content: Commentary: Getting to Zero

Gillian Gaynair is ICRW’s senior writer and editor.

Reducing HIV-related Stigma and Gender-based Violence in Guyana

Globally, stigma and discrimination fuel HIV transmission by impeding access to testing and treatment services for people living with HIV. In Guyana, stigmatizing attitudes in the general population and discriminatory treatment by people ranging from health care providers to local policy makers intensify the marginalization of vulnerable groups at highest risk, driving them further from the reach of health services and much-needed prevention, treatment, care, and support. Despite the rapid scale-up of HIV prevention care and treatment services in Guyana over the last decade, reaching key vulnerable populations who are most at risk, including men who have sex with men and sex workers remains a challenge and the epidemic persists.

Adult HIV prevalence in Guyana is 1.07%, yet the prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) is reportedly at 19.4%, and is reportedly 16.6% among female sex workers (FSW). As such, reducing the transmission of HIV and stigma and discrimination against these key populations has become a critical component of Guyana’s national response to the epidemic.

In response to nature of the epidemic in Guyana, ICRW is providing support to local NGOs under Advancing Partners & Communities (APC), a USAID funded project, implemented by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., in partnership with FHI 360.

ICRW is assisting in the implementation of the project in Guyana over the next three years, helping to strengthen the capacity of local organizations in Guyana to provide HIV prevention, care and treatment services to key populations at heightened risk of HIV infection, including women, men who have sex with men, transgender individuals and sex workers. Activities will include a rapid assessment of the current responses, gaps and challenges in providing HIV services to key populations in Guyana, the development of stigma reduction tools and a screening tool and protocol for gender-based violence, and technical support to NGOs to develop and implement HIV stigma reduction activities and implement GBV screening and referral activities. ICRW will also support government stakeholders to integrate GBV screening and stigma reduction into the National HIV Strategy.

Duration: 
2013-2015
Location(s): 
Guyana

Eliminating HIV in Guyana

Wed, 10/15/2014

Guyana Chronicle Online highlights findings of a rapid assessment on HIV stigma, discrimination and gender-based violence in Guyana, a project ICRW and partners are working on to help strengthen the capacity of local organizations in Guyana to provide HIV prevention, care and treatment services to key populations at heightened risk of HIV infection. 

Guyana Chronicle Online highlights findings of a rapid assessment on HIV stigma, discrimination and gender-based violence in Guyana, a project ICRW and partners are working on to help strengthen the capacity of local organizations in Guyana to provide HIV prevention, care and treatment service to key populations at heightened risk of HIV infection. The articles below highlights findings and recommendations presented by ICRW’s Jocelyn Lehrer, Senior Technical Specialist, Gender, Violence and Health. 

Report Cites Improved Attitudes, Behavior Towards Homosexuals, People with HIV

By Clestine Juan

Read article »

Stigma, Discrimination and Gender-based Violence Impacting HIV Epidemic

By Clestine Juan

Read article »

Protecting the Land and Inheritance Rights of HIV-Affected Women in Kenya and Uganda

Protecting the Land and Inheritance Rights of HIV-Affected Women in Kenya and Uganda

Anne Stangl and Laura Brady
2013

Many in the field of the public health and international development hypothesize that strengthening women’s property and inheritance rights (WPIR) may reduce susceptibility to HIV and enable households to better mitigate the economic, physical, and emotional consequences of HIV, particularly in high prevalence countries. A growing body of qualitative and programmatic evidence suggests that programs addressing both WPIR and HIV are more effective at helping women and families alleviate the consequences of HIV compared with programs that address WPIR or HIV alone. However, there is a lack of quantitative evidence to support this assumption.

To better understand the effectiveness of combination programming at this intersection, more investment is needed in data collection and monitoring to document and evaluate the impact of programs that address both WPIR and HIV. A critical first step is having a clear understanding of current programmatic and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) efforts. This compendium aims to fill this gap by reviewing programs working at the intersection of HIV and WPIR in Kenya and Uganda, countries that have been heavily affected by the HIV epidemic and subsequently are experiencing a high occurrence of property grabbing and disinheritance from widows and orphans.

The compendium includes descriptions and analysis of the 11 identified organizations and two in-depth case studies. Though not meant to be exhaustive, the compendium represents the depth and breadth of current programming in Kenya and Uganda that includes both WPIR and HIV. We summarize current programmatic and M&E approaches, discuss strengths and challenges of each, and provide recommendations for next steps.  

(4.23 MB)

We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact publications@icrw.org; or (202) 797-0007.

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Prevention of HIV/STI Risk/Vulnerability Among Married Women Through Integration Within Primary Health Care in India

Prevention of HIV/STI Risk/Vulnerability Among Married Women Through Integration Within Primary Health Care in India

ICRW
2014

Worldwide, India ranks third in terms of the number of people live with HIV, affecting 2.1 million people according to recent estimates. Programming efforts aimed at vulnerable populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, injecting drugs users, and truckers, have resulted in a decline in the HIV incidence rate. Building off of that success, the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) is working to further accelerate progress in decreasing the transmission of HIV, by targeting increases in low prevalence states, including through spousal transmission.

The RISHTA project, which means “relationship” in Hindi and Urdu, was conducted in a typical low-income urban community of around 600,000 people in the northeast quadrant of Mumbai City, India and was built on relevant, culturally-based attitudes and behaviors related to sexual health. The project targeted married women who, around the world and in India, are at high risk for contracting HIV by being married to men who participate in high-risk sexual behaviors.

The RISHTA project looks at the following questions:

  1. How can we identify the women are most vulnerable to HIV/STI transmission within marriage?
  2. What approaches can help to reduce married women’s risk?
  3. What outcomes indicators should we use to measure the program’s success?

The following project brief outlines a model for HIV/STI risk/vulnerability reduction for married women by addressing a wide range of psychosocial, marital, and sexual risk factors by integrating counseling and education with primary care through community intervention and education programs.

A video highlighting program participants and benefits of the RISHTA project can be found here.

(2.64 MB)

We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact publications@icrw.org; or (202) 797-0007.

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Understanding the Adolescent Family Planning Evidence Base (Review of Literature)

Understanding the Adolescent Family Planning Evidence Base (Review of Literature)

Allison Glinski, Magnolia Sexton and Suzanne Petroni
2014

Roughly one-quarter of the world’s population — 1.8 billion people — is between 10 and 24 years of age. Among the many sexually active adolescents worldwide, large numbers want to avoid, delay or limit pregnancy but lack the knowledge, agency or resources to make decisions regarding their reproduction. On average, unmet need for contraception is greater among unmarried adolescents than those who are married, however married adolescents ages 15-19 experience a higher percentage of unmet need than all married women.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) conducted a review of literature to identify what is known about adolescents’ demand for and access to family planning information and services. This review aimed to identify the barriers to and programmatic approaches for increasing adolescents’ access to and use of family planning services, and to identify gaps in the evidence that require further research and/or investment.

For the synthesis of this review of literature, click here.

(2.06 MB)

We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact publications@icrw.org; or (202) 797-0007.

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Underage: Addressing Reproductive Health and HIV in Married Adolescents

July 30, 2014

Suzanne Petroni, ICRW's Senior Director of Gender, Population, and Development joins colleagues at the Wilson Center to discuss issues married adolescents face, including challenges in addressing reproductive health needs and HIV.

Speakers: 

Suzanne Petroni
Senior Director of Gender, Population, and Development, International Center for Research on Women

Doris Bartel
Senior Director of Gender and Empowerment, CARE

Elizabeth Berard
Health Science Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development 

Callie Simon
Technical Advisor for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Pathfinder

Sandeep Bathala (moderator)
Senior Program Associate, Wilson Center

When: 
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Where: 
Woodrow Wilson Center at the Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC
United States
Host: 
The Woodrow Wilson Center
Cost: 
free

Combating Challenges Facing Adolescent Girls Living with HIV in Zambia

Around the world, adolescent girls remain at high risk for acquiring HIV because of social and institutional factors, including child marriage and gender-based violence. UNICEF estimated there were at least 80,000 adolescents living with HIV in Zambia in 2009. The encouraging growth of home-based and provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling will likely increase the number of adolescent girls who learn they are living with HIV in upcoming years. As a result, there will likely be an increased demand for treatment, care and support services in Zambia. Despite this burgeoning demographic of young Zambians living with HIV, psychosocial support and health care services for adolescent girls is limited. This deficit is worsened by the prevalence of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, as well as gender-based prejudice that affects the daily lives of girls living with HIV.

In an effort to address this gap in services, ICRW, in partnership with Zambart, will conduct a qualitative study in Zambia looking at the challenges adolescent girls living with HIV face as they transition to adulthood. With support from the MAC AIDS Fund, this research will study the unique stigma- and gender-related obstacles girls endure while facing some of the challenges of living with HIV such as adhering to medication regimens and clinical appointments, navigating safe sexual relationships, and handling the psychosocial challenges of learning of and disclosing their status. Through participatory workshops and interviews, ICRW will identify key challenges and stigma-related concerns surrounding HIV and pinpoint areas for intervention development to support healthy transitions to adulthood for these girls.

With this information, ICRW hopes to inform national programming and policies for adolescent girls living with HIV in Zambia. Beyond that, ICRW hopes this study will garner increased attention and action to address the needs and concerns of adolescents living with HIV around the world, with a particular focus on addressing HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
 

Duration: 
2014-2015

Priti Prabhughate

Priti
Prabhughate
Technical Specialist, Gender and HIV
Bio: 

Dr. Priti Prabhughate is a Senior Technical Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW), Asia Regional Office. In this role, she functions as a thematic lead on HIV-related research, by designing studies on HIV and parallel topics such as stigma and discrimination. She also provides technical support across teams in managing projects, developing tools, and supporting data evaluation and analysis.  

Priti has more than seven years of research experience in the fields of HIV/AIDS, sexuality, stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and sexual health – with a special focus on working with sexual minority communities in India. She has experience in building capacity, designing and conducting research with community researchers using participatory learning tools, and using evidence to conduct advocacy with stakeholders, such as health providers and law enforcement.

Priti also brings extensive training in psychology and social work, which equips her with a psychosocial perspective in understanding various phenomena. Her training in human behavior and application of its various theories to research helps her conceptualize research topics in a broad ecological framework. It is this aspect of her work that she is most enthusiastic about since it allows her to conceptualize, plan and analyze all of her research activities at multiple levels from the individual to the community level to the structural level.

ICRW’s approach to women’s empowerment is particularly resonant for Priti as a researcher. Her various research projects on HIV and on stigma in particular, have framed gender as a structural factor that disempowers women and discriminates against women at multiple levels.

Prior to joining ICRW in 2011, Priti worked with the Mumbai community-based organization Humsafar Trust, a male sexual health agency that seeks to prevent HIV among the gay, bisexual and transgender population. She functioned in multiple roles during her professional career at Humsafar, from counselor to ultimately leading the research unit at Humsafar Trust, where she played a pivotal role in guiding setting up IRB at the organization and developing proposals to international donors for research on sexual minority communities.

During her career, Priti has worked with international donors such as the National Institutes of Mental Health and United Nations Development Program as well as Indian government departments such as the National AIDS Control Organization and local partners, including Humsafar Trust, Swasti and St. Xavier’s College.

Contact Priti at pprabhughate@icrw.organd follow her on Twitter @pritiprabhughate

Expertise: 

HIV and AIDS, Violence Against Women, Advocacy and Policy Engagement

Languages Spoken: 

English (fluent), Hindi (fluent), Marathi (fluent), Konkani (fluent). Kannada (proficient), Gujarati (proficient) and German (proficient). 

Education: 

Priti holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a master’s in social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. She also holds a master’s in psychiatric social work from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bangalore, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Mumbai University.

Sancheeta Ghosh

Image Place Holder
Sancheeta
Ghosh
Technical Specialist
Bio: 

Sancheeta Ghosh is a Technical Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). In this capacity, she manages several projects, providing technical support and implementing research and program activities. Ghosh conducts literature reviews, manages and analyzes data, synthesizes research findings and develops research publications for a range of audiences. Ghosh has more than six years of experience conducting academic, operations and participatory research, including in monitoring and evaluation, in the areas of health, women’s empowerment and gender based violence.

Prior to joining ICRW Ghosh worked as a Research Coordinator for KHPT, Bangalore; as a Senior Research Officer at the Institute of Health Management and Research (IHMR), Bangalore; and as a Programme and Training Associate with CINI, West Bengal . She also worked as a Research Officer and Research Investigator at the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai.  

Expertise: 

Gender-based Violence and Reproductive Health, Maternal Health, HIV/AIDS, Gender and Masculinity, Development and Population issues 

Languages Spoken: 

Bengali (native), English (fluent), Hindi (fluent)

Education: 

Ghosh holds a doctorate degree in development studies from the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, a master’s degree in demography from IIPS and a master’s in anthropology from the University of Calcutta, West Bengal. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calcutta in Anthropology. 

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