Women’s Empowerment, HIV and the MDGs: Hearing the Voices of HIV Positive Women

31 Dec 2010


The document captures voices of women living with HIV on two critical Millennium Development Goals-MDG 3 (Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women) and MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases). In addition, the report serves as a useful guide to identify focus areas to accelerate progress towards achieving MDGs 3 and 6 by 2015.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the most broadly supported, comprehensive and specific development goals the world has ever agreed upon. These eight time-bound goals include targets for reducing poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, environmental degradation and the Global Partnership for Development.

Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs are both global and local, tailored by each country to suit specific development needs. They provide a framework for the international community to work together towards a common end, making sure that development reaches every human being everywhere. More than 25 years into the HIV and AIDS epidemic, gender inequality and unequal power relations between and among women and men continue to be major drivers of HIV transmission. Gender inequality and harmful gender norms are not only associated with the spread of HIV but also with its consequences which affect women especially HIV positive women, such as stigma and targeted violence.

Effectively addressing the issues related to needs and rights of women and girls in the context of HIV requires a comprehensive response that is grounded in the experience informed by evidence and based on the promotion and protection of the human rights of all women and girls. It is, therefore, clear that if we are to achieve progress against MDG 3 (Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women), it is essential that progress against MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases), be also achieved. HIV and gender-related vulnerabilities of women and girls need to be addressed as a central element of HIV and AIDS programmes and is an urgent priority for national governments.

This report aims to capture progress achieved towards meeting MDG 3 and MDG 6 in special context and in relation to community perspectives. A desk review of India’s MDG Report 2010 and UNGASS Report 2010 was undertaken to compare data and get insight into issues related to women living with HIV in India. In addition, UNDP India undertook six focus group discussions (FGDs) in different parts of the country to obtain perspective of women living with HIV.

It was envisaged that this work will contribute to the discussions held at the 2010 UN Millennium Development Goals Summit, in September this year. In addition, this report is expected to serve as an important guide to identification of focus areas to accelerate progress towards meeting MDGs 3 and 6 by their target date of 2015.

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