© Dominic Schweingruber

Many people think of HIV as “the killing disease” but when you take a closer look, you will find that there are many sexual health factors endangering the health of young people around the world. Gender norms for example often lead to unsafe sex and pose an increased risk for adolescent death. Gender based violence can lead to lower accessing of health care, lower quality of care and an overall higher vulnerability for some diseases. Around 1 in 3 women globally are affected by gender-based violence at least once in their lifetime, primarily perpetrated by intimate partners. This is especially the case for female key populations of HIV: female sex workers, transgender women and women who use drugs. This gender system undermines women’s health and promotes marginalisation of and discrimination against all those who do not fit those restrictive gender norms, including men and gender minorities.

We need to determine the roots of these inequalities in sexual health to ensure that gender is never a factor that stands in the way of seeking and attaining high quality health care and support.  

While our female study participants were significantly more likely to regularly take up sexual health services (p<0.001), we also found that significantly more female than male participants reported negative experiences with their health providers in the form of stigma and discrimination (p=0.028) and providers with negative attitudes (p<0.001). 

We know how to preventHIV infections.
Yet the world registered 1.5 million new infections in 2020.

We know how to treat HIV/AIDS.
Yet more than 10 million people living with HIV are not accessing treatment. 

Our new report "Epidemic of the mind" examines the complex social and cultural factors driving the HIV epidemic today - and how to address them:

  • Availability 
  • Knowledge & Awareness
  • Stigma & Discrimination 
  • Gender Inequality
  • Religion & Spirituality

The tools and knowledge to prevent new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are already available. Now, it is time to fight the epidemic of the mind. 

Learn more and pre-order the report on updateHIV.com