Sophia Forum

Feasibility study to look at the potential for a national investigation into violence as a cause & consequence of HIV for women in England.

Extract from Exec Summary

There are estimated to be 91,500 people living with HIV in the UK, of which nearly one third are women, and the vast majority live in England. Ensuring good health is not the only challenge for these women; they frequently face issues of gender inequality that may manifest as physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Please click here to view the full report which developed from this briefing and about its launch at the House of Lords on 14 February 2013


  • In the short to medium term, there should be a more thorough mapping of HIV support services, enabling Sophia Forum to understand the recurrent GBV issues that are common to women living with HIV in England. There should also be the proactive development of partnerships with sectors that are already involved in elements of this work (i.e. human rights and international development sectors).
  • A good practice guidance toolkit should be developed in order to recognise the variety of challenges faced and ensuing excellent practice developed by some HIV support services around the HIV/GBV intersection.
  • Training packages that challenge cultural norms of acceptability of GBV against women living with HIV should be developed. aimed at: » Women who have experienced GBV in order to enable them to recognise and address the various forms of GBV and increase knowledge of their rights and support available to them » Men who perpetrate GBV in order to challenge belief systems about and cultural norms of the acceptability of GBV, and to understand how the law will act against them if they perpetrate GBV3 » Individuals and organisations involved in providing support for women, to increase skills and knowledge amongst professionals who will inevitably work with women affected by both issues.
  • In the long-term, mixed-method research is needed to delineate the true extent of the HIV/GBV intersection and to understand the impact of GBV at both the individual and societal level. Individual level includes physical and mental health issues, such as adherence to anti-retroviral medication; attendance at clinic; and child protection issues.