Gender-based violence and HIV: Addressing twin epidemics

Governments, NGOs and activists gathered in New York for the 58th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) last month. One young woman living with HIV shares her experience of being there.

Hajjarah Nagadya is a young woman living with HIV and a mother of one from Uganda. She is a member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV in Eastern Africa, as well as the UNAIDS Dialogue Platform for Women Living with HIV.

Hajjarah attended the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) as a youth representative of the Link Up project.

Link Up is an ambitious five country programme being implemented by a consortium of organisations led by the Alliance, which aims to improve the sexual health needs of young people living with and affected by HIV in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Uganda. Hajjarah was supported in her attendance at the event by Link Up consortium members, the ATHENA Network and the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS.

In a blog published on the Women Deliver site, Hajjarah said: “As a young woman living with HIV, I want to make sure that the issues that really affect women living with HIV are addressed.

“I was so shocked to hear that in this CSW 2014, there are still countries that are not in support of sexual rights, on the grounds that it is linked to immorality. We need all rights for all women, if we are to make progress on ending GBV.”

In her article Hajjarah calls on all governments to come together, especially at this time when the post-2015 development agenda is being discussed, to push for acceleration in gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women and girls.

Hajjarah to visit the UK in April

Hajjarah will in the UK on 3rd April 2014 to speak at a seminar which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Children Affected by AIDS (CABA) thematic group. The event will focus on children and young people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.

Hajjarah will speak about her own experiences of growing up with HIV in Uganda. She will be joined by, among others, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Lynne Featherstone MP, and Kate Iorpenda, Alliance Senior Advisor on Children and co-chair of the thematic group.