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Global Aids Alliance Voices Its Strong Support for the International Violence Against Women Act

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 General News J E 4
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'Violence against women and girls is both a cause and a consequence of HIV/AIDS.'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m. in Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172, Chairman Delahunt (D-MA) of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight will hold a hearing titled International Violence Against Women: Stories and Solutions. The hearing will feature testimony from UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer, and other experts addressing violence against women worldwide. Immediately after the hearing, a media availability event will be held in Rayburn Room 2200 with Congressman Delahunt, Ms. Kidman, and others.

A statement from GAA follows:

"We congratulate Chairman Delahunt for his leadership and commitment to human rights," said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance (GAA) and a physician with experience working with people with HIV/AIDS in Africa, India and South America. "Violence against women is a universal issue, and U.S. work to end this scourge will not only galvanize the global health, women's, children's and human rights movements, but will help restore credibility to the United States through effective use of soft power," he said.

The Global AIDS Alliance encourages swift introduction and bipartisan passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).

The I-VAWA will have a great impact on global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts. "Violence against women and girls is a cause and a consequence of HIV/AIDS," said Lisa Schechtman, GAA's Senior Policy Officer for Women. "Violence or fear of violence can prevent women from negotiating safe sex and from seeking health services or information, including HIV testing, care and treatment," said Schechtman. "We also know that men who are violent toward their intimate partners are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, which is one of the primary causes for the spread of HIV," she said.

The I-VAWA links strategically with other U.S. foreign assistance programs, especially PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) which, according to Schechtman, "offers an opportunity for scale-up of coordinated, integrated responses to violence against women and girls that recognize the wide-ranging impact it has on the well-being of women, girls, their families and societies."

The I-VAWA is also one of the ways that we can protect our investment in global health through PEPFAR and other U.S. programs. "Unless we address global violence against women and girls, our multi-billion dollar fight against AIDS is sure to fail," said Zeitz.

RESOURCES:

GAA Statement for the Record for October 21 House Hearing

GAA Fact Sheet on Violence Against Women and Girls

Scaling Up for Zero Tolerance (GAA Report, 2008)

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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