2021 CSW Report on women and HIV/AIDS

16 Decem­ber 2021

Analysis of precedential value

The Com­mis­sion on the Sta­tus of Women (CSW) is a func­tional com­mis­sion of the Eco­nomic and Social Coun­cil (ECOSOC). It is the most impor­tant global inter­gov­ern­men­tal body exclu­sively ded­i­cated to the pro­mo­tion of gen­der equal­ity and the empow­er­ment of women. Although its dec­la­ra­tions are non-bind­ing, it plays an instru­men­tal role in shap­ing global stan­dards on gen­der equal­ity, that is, women’s enjoy­ment of their rights in polit­i­cal, eco­nomic, and social fields.

Used as precedent

gender equality, gender norms and stereotypes

The unequal sta­tus of women and girls across polit­i­cal, social, eco­nomic and cul­tural domains con­tinue to put women at greater risk of HIV infec­tion and affects access to and uptake of HIV ser­vices. Fac­tors that increase the risk of HIV infec­tion, such as poverty, food inse­cu­rity, gen­der-based vio­lence, stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion, child and forced age-dis­parate mar­riage, low edu­ca­tional com­ple­tion rates and lim­ited access to qual­ity unbi­ased infor­ma­tion, dis­pro­por­tion­ately affect women and girls. These fac­tors have been exac­er­bated by the COVID-19 pan­demic. Social norms and con­trol­ling behav­iours by men still pre­vent many women and ado­les­cent girls from using con­tra­cep­tion, refus­ing unwanted sex and mak­ing their own deci­sions about their health care.

key population and community leadership

The mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion and engage­ment of women, includ­ing women liv­ing with HIV and young women, in the devel­op­ment, imple­men­ta­tion and mon­i­tor­ing of national HIV strate­gies, poli­cies and pro­grammes is essen­tial for ensur­ing that national HIV responses meet their needs.The Com­mis­sion may wish to encour­age Mem­ber States to increase inter­na­tional and domes­tic financ­ing to reach the goal of $29 bil­lion in annual invest­ment by 2025 to meet the needs of low- and mid­dle-income coun­tries in the HIV and AIDS response, with greater allo­ca­tions for women-led orga­ni­za­tions, for pre­ven­tion and for soci­etal enablers that pro­mote human rights and gen­der equal­ity.The Com­mis­sion may wish to encour­age the United Nations sys­tem and other inter­na­tional actors to facil­i­tate the active engage­ment, rep­re­sen­ta­tion and deci­sion-mak­ing of women liv­ing with, at risk of or affected by HIV and their net­works in inter­na­tional, regional, national and com­mu­nity-led processes related to the HIV and AIDS response.

bodily autonomy and integrity, gender equality

Stigma (includ­ing in health-care set­tings), gen­der inequal­i­ties, inti­mate part­ner vio­lence, poverty and dis­crim­i­na­tory laws and prac­tices con­tinue to limit access and the abil­ity or will­ing­ness of women, and espe­cially ado­les­cent girls, to test, seek treat­ment or remain engaged in care. As of 2020, 108 coun­tries report­ing to the UNAIDS National Com­mit­ments and Pol­icy Instru­ment required parental or guardian con­sent for HIV tests for ado­les­cents and 48 required such con­sent for HIV treat­ment.

comprehensive sexuality education

Age-appro­pri­ate, com­pre­hen­sive sex­u­al­ity edu­ca­tion for ado­les­cents both in and out of school is a proven strat­egy, con­tribut­ing to reduc­tions in gen­der-based vio­lence, increased use of con­tra­cep­tion, decreased num­bers of sex­ual part­ners and delayed ini­ti­a­tion of sex­ual inter­course.

negative legal determinants

The HIV response for women and girls is neg­a­tively affected by laws that do not ade­quately address vio­lence and harm­ful prac­tices directed against women; per­pet­u­ate gen­der inequal­ity and dis­crim­i­na­tion; restrict the access of women and ado­les­cent girls to sex­ual and repro­duc­tive health and rights; and crim­i­nal­ize HIV non-dis­clo­sure, expo­sure and trans­mis­sion.

stigma and discrimination

More than a quar­ter of peo­ple aged 15 to 49 years in 52 out of 58 coun­tries with pop­u­la­tion-based sur­vey data hold dis­crim­i­na­tory atti­tudes towards peo­ple liv­ing with HIV, and, in 36 coun­tries, more than half held such views. Dis­crim­i­na­tion in health-care set­tings can deter access to test­ing and treat­ment.

gender equality, key population and community leadership

The Com­mis­sion may wish to encour­age Mem­ber States to give mean­ing­ful sup­port to the voices, par­tic­i­pa­tion and deci­sion-mak­ing of women, par­tic­u­larly young women and ado­les­cent girls, in all their diver­sity, includ­ing women liv­ing with HIV and women in key pop­u­la­tions, as inte­gral part­ners in national HIV coor­di­nat­ing bod­ies, national dia­logue and com­mu­nity-led processes, includ­ing by strength­en­ing the capac­i­ties of their orga­ni­za­tions and by ensur­ing for­mal par­tic­i­pa­tion in the design, deliv­ery and mon­i­tor­ing of all strate­gies, pro­grammes and inter­ven­tions that affect them.

gender equality, negative legal determinants

The Com­mis­sion may wish to encour­age Mem­ber States to reform laws that directly or indi­rectly dis­crim­i­nate against women and girls, includ­ing those affect­ing women liv­ing with and affected by HIV and women in key pop­u­la­tions, and to adopt appro­pri­ate leg­isla­tive, admin­is­tra­tive, bud­getary, judi­cial and other mea­sures to ensure the full real­iza­tion of women’s sex­ual and repro­duc­tive health and rights.

gender equality

The Com­mis­sion may wish to encour­age the United Nations sys­tem and other inter­na­tional actors to scale up fund­ing and tech­ni­cal resources for evi­dence-based inter­ven­tions that address the gen­der-based struc­tural, social and eco­nomic inequal­i­ties that fuel the HIV epi­demic.

access to health products

The Com­mis­sion may wish to encour­age the United Nations sys­tem and other inter­na­tional actors to advo­cate for the removal of obsta­cles that limit the capac­ity of low-and mid­dle-income coun­tries to pro­vide afford­able and effec­tive HIV pre­ven­tion and treat­ment prod­ucts, diag­nos­tics, com­modi­ties and other phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts tai­lored to or that are more appro­pri­ate for women and to sup­port access to safe, effec­tive, qual­ity and afford­able med­i­cines, includ­ing gener­ics, to ensure that they reach the peo­ple who need them the most, espe­cially ado­les­cent girls and young women.