December 1st is World AIDS Day. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
It’s impossible to talk about HIV/AIDS without talking about domestic and sexual violence. 55% of women living with HIV (WLHIV) have experienced intimate partner violence, and 45% of WLHIV experienced physical assault as a direct result of disclosing their status to their partner. Similarly, gay men and transgender individuals experiencing intimate partner violence have increased risk of exposure to and / or acquiring HIV.
The stigma that surrounds each issue, intimate partner violence and HIV/ AIDS, serves only to magnify all the other barriers and challenges survivors experiencing both at the same time face. Fear; lack of access to medical care, financial resources, or transportation; internalized shame or self-blame; and survivor-blaming or insensitive services are among the primary challenges that survivors living with HIV face when trying to address their health needs AND while trying to stop the violence they are experiencing.
The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence proudly collaborates with the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Positively Safe project to help Indiana providers and advocates develop the knowledge and skills they need to work with survivors experiencing the intersection of HIV or AIDS and intimate partner violence. You can learn more about World AIDS Day at www.worldaidsday.org. Find out more about NNEDV’s Positively Safe project by following this link.