Gender Audit of National HIV/AIDS Strategy Released!

Thirteen organizations today released a gender audit of the first-ever U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  The document is an analysis, from a gender perspective, of the Strategy, and lays out recommendations for the Strategy’s implementation to improve all women’s, including transgender women’s, access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment consistent with the right to nondiscrimination, dignity, bodily integrity, and ethical treatment. The analysis is based in human rights principles. Read the Executive Summary of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Gender Audit and Recommendations for Implementation here.

The U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy has provided a groundbreaking blueprint for tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. using a more holistic and structural approach. The Strategy and Implementation Plan provide opportunities for future action but do not identify explicit next steps to improve some key issues for women living with and affected by HIV.

The impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on women, especially women of color, is growing: in 1985, women represented 8% of AIDS diagnoses  in 1995, this percentage rose to 20%, and in 2000, it rose again to 27%, where it remains today. Research suggests that “efforts to stem the tide of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic will increasingly depend on how and to what extent its effect on women and girls is addressed.” Yet, when women, especially Black women, are directly identified as a hard-hit population in the HIV epidemic in the Strategy it is largely within the context of a broader at-risk population.  Similarly, while the disparities in treatment and access to care for transgender individuals have been identified in the Strategy, little is mentioned about why these disparities exist, how they will be alleviated and how the prevention and care needs of transgender individuals differ from gay men and bisexual women and men.

The report card identifies a discrete set of key areas where HIV-positive and affected women’s rights are most clearly impacted. These areas were used to analyze and grade the Strategy from a gender perspective.  Additionally, participating organizations assessed opportunities for the Strategy’s implementation to ensure that the Strategy effectively upholds human rights and meets the needs of women and families in HIV prevention, testing, and provision of care.  Read the complete Gender Audit Analysis and Recommendations for Implementation here.