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Virtual Forum for the Validation of the WHO Guide for Integrating Gender into HIV Testing and Counseling, June 19, 2006
For more information contact Dinys Luciano.















Project Partners
PAHO, HIV/AIDS Unit
WHO, Gender, Women and Development Unit

The gender dimensions of HIV are numerous and far-reaching and, as the epidemic continues its steady growth globally, figures show that its increase among the world's women is growing at an alarming rate compared to that among men. This rapid increase has been most visible in countries where the virus is transmitted via heterosexual intercourse, as is the case across the Caribbean and Latin America. Recent figures show that of the 1.4 million people living with HIV in Latin America, 30% are women, and 50% of the 420,000 people living with HIV in the Caribbean are women.

Women's increased vulnerabilities to HIV are due, in part, to differential physiological, socio-cultural, and economic factors that put them at a disproportionate risk for contracting the virus. For example, women have more mucous membrane where microscopic injuries can occur during sexual intercourse and this factor makes them two to four times more susceptible to HIV infection. Women, more than men, also face obstacles in the use of contraceptives, in seeking sexual and reproductive health counseling, and in making decisions about their sexual behavior due to the control of her spouses, partners, families, and society. Women also face a particular disadvantage when it comes to access to information about HIV transmission, prevention, and care, negotiate safe sexual encounters, and access treatment and/or support for HIV/AIDS once infected.

The following resources offer additional information about the gender dimensions of HIV:

  • Fact Sheet: Gender and HIV
  • Fact Sheet: Gender and HIV and the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS)
  • Issue Paper: The UNGASS, Gender and Women's Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Presentation: Gender and HIV/AIDS in the LA/C Region
  • Presentation: Gender and HIV/AIDS in the LA/C Region

  • Visite esta pgina para ver estos recursos en espaol


       Sexual and Domestic Violence and HIV Project in Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua

    GE, jointly with the HIV/AIDS Unit are coordinating a project in Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua that examines the relationship between HIV and sexual and domestic violence among a select group of women participants who are users of specific public and private health services in order to identify factors that potentially make it possible to improve the institutional response to both public health problems. This initiative forms part of GE's approach to addressing the gender dimensions of HIV in the Region and it is expected that this first phase will serve as the basis for further work on this topic, not only in the three countries participating in this initiative but in the wider region as well.

    The three main components of this initiative are: (1) descriptive, qualitative country studies that assess and analyze the situation of HIV and sexual and domestic violence, (2) supporting the revision and/or creation of new policies and tools to address access to treatment both for women survivors of sexual and domestic violence as well as women living with HIV, and (3) the validation-and subsequent implementation- of the World Health Organization's Guide for Incorporating Gender into HIV Testing and Counselling programs.

    Specifically, the country studies aim to: (a) Estimate the proportion of women survivors of sexual and domestic violence in users of SDV services included in the study with HIV; (b) Estimate the proportion of women with HIV who are users of HIV health care services included in the study that experience or have experienced SDV before and after being infected with HIV; and (c) Explore the experiences, knowledge and perceptions of women with HIV who are also survivors of SDV related to both subjects that may potentially restrict access to prevention and treatment.

    For more information about the initiative contact Dinys Luciano, Farah Nageer, or Amalia del Riego.

    Project Resources

    Regulatory and Institutional Framework for the Prevention and Care of Domestic and Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS in Nicaragua (Available in Spanish Only)

    Guidelines for the development of national studies on violence against women and HIV/AIDS in Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua (Work in Progress-Spanish Only)

    Presentation: Gender-Based Violence and HIV/AIDS in Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua, November 2005, (Spanish Only)

    Presentation: Gender, Sexual and Intrafamily Violence and HIV/AIDS: Addressing the Connections, Costa Rica, July 2005 (Spanish Only)

    Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS and Gender-based violence against women  (En espaol)

    For more information about the initiative in the three participating countries contact: Silvia Narvaez in Nicaragua, Raquel Fernandez in Honduras, and Sandra Jones in Belize.

       Validation of WHO Guide for Incorporating Gender into HIV Testing and Counseling

    The WHO Guide for Incorporating Gender into HIV Testing and Counseling will be validated in the first phase of the study. The WHO aims to address the gap that exists in incorporating gender into the set-up and delivery of HIV testing and counselling programs. The WHO Guide is in its final stages of completion. For more information about the WHO Guide, please contact: Avni Amin, Department of Gender, Women and Health, WHO.

    The objectives of the validation in this pilot study are: (1) to evaluate the usefulness of the guide as an instrument for modifying the protocols and guides for attention to HIV existing in the participating countries, (2) to analyze the relevance of the guide's contents in different contexts, according to type and level of care and profile of the user population of the services, and (3) review the structure of the guide and the possibility of adapting it to the different audiences in each of the three countries. The validation process is complemented with the objective of implementing this Guide in the countries participating in the project as well as others in the region.

  • Outline for the Validation of the WHO Guide for Incorporating Gender into HIV Testing and Counseling


  • Validation Instrument for the WHO Guide, Chapters One and Two, Cross-cutting Issues for Incorporating Gender into HIV Programs and Incorporating Gender into HIV Testing and Counseling


  • Related GE Resources

    Questionnaire for the collection of regional data on gender and HIV-This initiative that, currently in a pilot stage, seeks to gather information among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to address gender inequities in the access to anti-retroviral treatment.

    Presentation: Connections between HIV and Intimate Partner Violence in Kenya, February, 2006

    Related Links

    WHO Multi-Country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women
    Gender and HIV/AIDS Electronic Library, UNIFEM
    Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS
    United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS)
    International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
    International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW)


    Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
    525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
    Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663

    Pan American Health Organization. All rights reserved.