How does GBV affect vulnerability to HIV?

Date: Monday, 21 June 2021
18:00 CAT
Hashtag to use: 
Moderating account:
Topic: How does GBV affect your vulnerability to HIV?


Join us for a 60-minute session with our panel experts. All stakeholders including healthcare workers, survivors and the public etc. locally and globally are welcome. The public transcript will be recorded by Symplur.

T1: What is the relationship between gender-based violence and HIV?
T2: How do gender roles contribute to vulnerability to gender-based violence and HIV infection?

T3: How do we differentiate between gender-based violence and intimate partner violence? Are they the same thing? If not, how are they different?

T4: Does GBV affect young people differently to older people?

T5: What can be done to address gender-based violence and reduce the risk of being infected with HIV?
CT: (Closing Thoughts): Do you have anything you want to add about the link between gender-based violence and HIV in South Africa?



Start your answers with T1, T2, T3, T4 or CT for transcript purposes.
Answer only after the moderator prompts. Questions will be prompted every 10 minutes, but keep answers coming using the relevant T and number. Both panel experts and public attendees are encouraged to participate.
Use the #TBHIVCare hashtag in all tweets so you are visible to others in the chat.

Everyone is welcome to join locally and globally. Our transcript will be recorded on


South Africa has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in the world. According to Stats SA one in five women (21%) has experienced physical violence by a partner, and according to ONE (global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease) the rate of femicide is equivalent to the rate of fatalities experienced by countries at war.

GBV puts women at risk of HIV. UNAIDS reports that in sub-Saharan Africa, women who have experienced intimate partner violence are 50% more likely to be living with HIV. Marginalised groups, such as female sex workers, transgendered people and women who use drugs experience even higher rates of GBV, and are also at greater risk of being infected with HIV.

As well as being a public health issue in its own right, GBV is therefore also intimately linked to other global pandemics, such as HIV and now, COVID-19. It is reported that during the first week of the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa in 2020, reported cases of GBV rose by 30%.

Some of the areas where improvements have been suggested are in policing, the economic empowerment of women and general community awareness.

Police’s handling of GBV cases has been criticized, with some reports that police are sometimes unwilling to intervene in what is perceived to be a private matter. When marginalised groups such as transgender people, female sex workers or women who use drugs are involved, it is even more difficult to access police support due to the strained relationship that often exists between these groups and law enforcement.

Some GBV survivors are unable to remove themselves from abusive relationships because they are financially dependent on their abusers. The systemic economic empowerment of women may therefore be one way to address GBV.

With GBV such a vastly widespread issue that presents a real, daily threat for millions of people around the country, it appears that communities have not yet rejected GBV as unacceptable behaviour. More awareness is needed to combat the “abantu bazothini syndrome” (“what will people say”) or none of my business attitude that keeps many from speaking out against GBV.