Women at Risk: Gender and AIDS in Africa


Seidel, Gill. 1993. "Women at Risk: Gender and AIDS in Africa." Disasters 17 (2): 133-42.

Author: Gill Seidel


AIDS in Africa is a gender, development and rights issue involving power and differential access to resources. The risk situations for women stressed in development contexts of war, destabilization and displacement, and the many contexts of transactional sex, are poorly understood by policy makers and the medical community. The dominant epidemiological paradigm has focused on female 'prostitutes' in a number of African cities. The limitations of this approach are discussed, as are the different contextualized meanings of sexual exchange. The importance of women's experience of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and their perceptions of risk are stressed, as is the need for non-judgmental services linked to primary and comprehensive health care. Most health promotion messages construct an image of women as prostitutes, or seek to mobilize women as carers and educators of families and communities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa

Year: 1993

Coming out in camouflage: A Queer Theory Perspective on the Strength, Resilience, and Resistance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Service Members and Veterans


Ramirez, M. Heliana, and Paul R. Sterzing. 2017. “Coming out in Camouflage: A Queer Theory Perspective on the Strength, Resilience, and Resistance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Service Members and Veterans.” Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 29 (1): 68–86. 

Authors: M. Heliana Ramirez, Paul R. Sterzing


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members have made profound contributions to the U. S. military despite serving under anti-LGBT military policies. Little is known about their everyday acts of strength and resistance, which is vital information for developing strengths-based services. This article utilizes a queer theory framework to (a) discuss LGBT military contributions and anti-LGBT military policies, (b) explore three LGBT-specific military minority stressors, and (c) identify four strategies of strength and resistance used to manage an antiLGBT military environment. Clinical suggestions are proposed for integrating military and LGBT identities and designing interventions that blend military and LGBT cultures.

Keywords: LGBT, military, veteran, strengths-based, resilience, queer theory

Topics: Combatants, Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2017

Mental Health and Medical Health Disparities in 5135 Transgender Veterans Receiving Healthcare in the Veterans Health Administration: A Case-Control Study


Brown, George R., and Kenneth T. Jones. 2016. “Mental Health and Medical Health Disparities in 5135 Transgender Veterans Receiving Healthcare in the Veterans Health Administration: A Case-Control Study.” LGBT Health 3 (2): 122–31. 

Authors: George R. Brown, Kenneth T. Jones


Purpose: There are no large controlled studies of health disparities in transgender (TG) or gender dysphoric patients. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest healthcare system in the United States and was an early adopter of electronic health records. We sought to determine whether medical and/or mental health disparities exist in VHA for clinically diagnosed TG veterans compared to matched veterans without a clinical diagnosis consistent with TG status.
Methods: Using four ICD-9-CM codes consistent with TG identification, a cohort of 5135 TG veterans treated in VHA between 1996 and 2013 was identified. Veterans without one of these diagnoses were matched 1:3 in a case–control design to determine if medical and/or mental health disparities exist in the TG veteran population.
Results: In 2013, the prevalence of TG veterans with a qualifying clinical diagnosis was 58/100,000 patients. Statistically significant disparities were present in the TG cohort for all 10 mental health conditions examined, including depression, suicidality, serious mental illnesses, and post-traumatic stress disorder. TG Veterans were more likely to have been homeless, to have reported sexual trauma while on active duty, and to have been incarcerated. Significant disparities in the prevalence of medical diagnoses for TG veterans were also detected for 16/17 diagnoses examined, with HIV disease representing the largest disparity between groups.
Conclusion: This is the first study to examine a large cohort of clinically diagnosed TG patients for psychiatric and medical health outcome disparities using longitudinal, retrospective medical chart data with a matched control group. TG veterans were found to have global disparities in psychiatric and medical diagnoses compared to matched non-TG veterans. These findings have significant implications for policy, healthcare screening, and service delivery in VHA and potentially other healthcare systems.

Keywords: disparity, gender dysphoria, military, Transgender, veteran

Topics: Combatants, Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2016

The Logic of Protection: Narratives of HIV/AIDS in the UN Security Council


Jansson, Maria. 2016. “The Logic of Protection: Narratives of HIV/AIDS in the UN Security Council.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 19 (1): 71–85. 

Author: Maria Jansson


When HIV/AIDS was first addressed by the UN Security Council in 2000, it was seen as the culmination of a successful securitization process and a pivotal moment for introducing human security. However, concern for the epidemic was paired with problems in including a nonmilitary issue on the Security Council’s agenda and the fear that peacekeepers were vectors of HIV. Reports of peacekeepers being involved in sexual exploitation and abuse added to these problems. This article aims to understand how gender has informed the efforts to address these issues and to rehabilitate peacekeeping forces and the Security Council from the legitimacy challenges that arose in this context. The article argues that including nonmilitary issues on the Security Council agenda requires adjustment to fit a war/peace logic. Drawing on feminist theories on security and protection, the analysis shows that the security narrative on HIV/AIDS did not form a coherent protection logic until the 2011 reformulation, when HIV/AIDS was constructed as part of the problem of wartime rape. This reformulation is interpreted as an appropriation of gender equality to reproduce a military security doctrine.

Keywords: gender, HIV/AIDS, UN Security Council, peacekeeping, Securitization

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, HIV/AIDS, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Security, Human Security, Sexual Violence, Rape

Year: 2016

The Sexual Economy, Gender Relations and Narratives of Infant Death on a Tomato Farm in Northern South Africa


Addison, Lincoln. 2014. “The Sexual Economy, Gender Relations and Narratives of Infant Death on a Tomato Farm in Northern South Africa.” Journal of Agrarian Change 14 (1): 74–93. doi:10.1111/joac.12008.

Author: Lincoln Addison


Based on an extended case study of a large-scale tomato farm in northern Limpopo province, the paper examines how the restructuring of agriculture transforms the sexual economy through shifts in the composition of labour and management practices on farms in this area. The employment of Zimbabwean migrants, rather than relatively permanent Venda families, suggests a potentially greater variety of people participating in the sexual economy. While families as units of employment have declined, black supervisors increasingly serve as a primary locus of coercion on the farm and in the sexual economy. The monetization of erstwhile paternalistic services places pressure on women to earn income however they can, including transactional sex. Contested interpretations over the causes of infant deaths on the farm, in the form of hygiene, blood-mixing and infanticide, provide an ethnographic framework for a deeper analysis of the sexual economy and its social effects. While the sexual economy presents opportunities for women to increase their income, it also exposes them to the risks of HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, resulting in contradictory implications for the status of women on farms.

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Health, HIV/AIDS, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2014

Male Honor and the Ruralization of HIV/AIDS in Michoacán. A Case of Indigenous Return Migration in Mexico: AIDS and Migration in Rural Mexico


Rosete, Daniel Hernández. 2012. “Male Honor and the Ruralization of HIV/AIDS in Michoacán. A Case of Indigenous Return Migration in Mexico: AIDS and Migration in Rural Mexico.” International Migration 50 (5): 142–52. 

Author: Daniel Hernández Rosete


The purpose of this text is to analyse the motives of seasonal migrant workers for attempting to get their wives pregnant when they return to Mexico. The meanings attributed to paternity, pregnancy and rearing are analysed from the perspective of the migrant worker and his wife. Ethnographic research was conducted in several Purépecha communities in Michoacán, supported by interviews with indigenous, who travelled to the United States for periods of up to three years, and with their wives, who stayed in Mexico. The migrant workers interviewed consider pregnancy and the paternity derived from it as an important means of male legitimization and sexual control of their wives, particularly valid in their rural communities of origin, where they know they are absentee males. When they return to Mexico they seek sexual relations for reproductive purposes, since they fear their wives will have extramarital relations in their absence. From these findings, it was considered necessary to implement sexual and reproductive health policies with pluri-ethnic and gender approaches that take into account male beliefs and practices regarding paternity and pregnancy in a rural context. The development of sensitizing policies aimed at migrant males during their stays in Mexico is recommended.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Masculinity/ies, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Health, HIV/AIDS, Indigenous Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2012

Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide


Totten, Samuel, ed. 2012. Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Author: Samuel Totten


The plight and fate of female victims during the course of genocide is radically and profoundly different from their male counterparts. Like males, female victims suffer demonization, ostracism, discrimination, and deprivation of their basic human rights. They are often rounded up, deported, and killed. But, unlike most men, women are subjected to rape, gang rape, and mass rape. Such assaults and degradation can, and often do, result in horrible injuries to their reproductive systems and unwanted pregnancies. This volume takes one stride towards assessing these grievances, and argues against policies calculated to continue such indifference to great human suffering.
The horror and pain suffered by females does not end with the act of rape. There is always the fear, and reality, of being infected with HIV/AIDS. Concomitantly, there is the possibility of becoming pregnant.Then, there is the birth of the babies. For some, the very sight of the babies and children reminds mothers of the horrific violations they suffered. When mothers harbor deep-seated hatred or distain for such children, it results in more misery. The hatred may be so great that children born of rape leave home early in order to fend for themselves on the street.
This seventh volume in the Genocide series will provoke debate, discussion, reflection and, ultimately, action. The issues presented include ongoing mass rape of girls and women during periods of war and genocide, ostracism of female victims, terrible psychological and physical wounds, the plight of offspring resulting from rapes, and the critical need for medical and psychological services.
(Transaction Publishers)

Topics: Gender, Women, Genocide, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women

Year: 2012

In the Face of War: Examining Sexual Vulnerabilities of Acholi Adolescent Girls Living in Displacement Camps in Conflict-Affected Northern Uganda


Patel, S. H., H. Muyinda, N. K. Sewankambo, G. Oyat, S. Atim, and P. M. Spittal. 2012. “In the Face of War: Examining Sexual Vulnerabilities of Acholi Adolescent Girls Living in Displacement Camps in Conflict-Affected Northern Uganda.” BMC International Health and Human Rights 12 (38).

Authors: Sheetal H Patel, Herbert Muyinda, Nelson K Sewankambo, Geoffrey Oyat, Stella Atim, Patricia M Spittal


Background: Adolescent girls are an overlooked group within conflict-affected populations and their sexual health needs are often neglected. Girls are disproportionately at risk of HIV and other STIs in times of conflict, however the lack of recognition of their unique sexual health needs has resulted in a dearth of distinctive HIV protection and prevention responses. Departing from the recognition of a paucity of literature on the distinct vulnerabilities of girls in time of conflict, this study sought to deepen the knowledge base on this issue by qualitatively exploring the sexual vulnerabilities of adolescent girls surviving abduction and displacement in Northern Uganda.

Methods: Over a ten-month period between 2004–2005, at the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Northern Uganda, 116 in-depth interviews and 16 focus group discussions were held with adolescent girls and adult women living in three displacement camps in Gulu district, Northern Uganda. The data was transcribed and key themes and common issues were identified. Once all data was coded the ethnographic software programme ATLAS was used to compare and contrast themes and categories generated in the in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.

Results: Our results demonstrated the erosion of traditional Acholi mentoring and belief systems that had previously served to protect adolescent girls’ sexuality. This disintegration combined with: the collapse of livelihoods; being left in camps unsupervised and idle during the day; commuting within camp perimeters at night away from the family hut to sleep in more central locations due to privacy and insecurity issues, and; inadequate access to appropriate sexual health information and services, all contribute to adolescent girls’ heightened sexual vulnerability and subsequent enhanced risk for HIV/AIDS in times of conflict.

Conclusions: Conflict prevention planners, resettlement programme developers, and policy-makers need to recognize adolescent girls affected by armed conflict as having distinctive needs, which require distinctive responses. More adaptive and sustainable gender-sensitive reproductive health strategies and HIV prevention initiatives for displaced adolescent girls in conflict settings must be developed.

Keywords: adolescent girls, conflict, Sexual vulnerability, displacement camps, Northern Uganda, Acholi, Qualitative, HIV/AIDS

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2012

Gender Violence and HIV/AIDS in Post-Conflict West Africa: Issues and Responses


Ahonsi, Babatunde A. 2010. “Gender Violence and HIV/AIDS in Post-Conflict West Africa: Issues and Responses.” Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Author: Babatunde A. Ahonsi


This Discussion Paper is based on an analysis of the sexual and gender dimensions of the civil wars in two West African countries, Liberia (1989-96, 1999-2003) and Sierra Leone (1997-2002). It critically examines the impact of, and linkages between conflict, the incidence of sexual violence against women (SVAW) and risks of exposure to HIV/ AIDS in both countries. It also examines these connections in the context of postconflict transitions. In this regard, it interrogates some of the assumptions about the linkages between war, levels of SVAW and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The critical perspective adopted in this paper opens up new vistas in the form of a gendered analysis of a largely neglected aspect of post-conflict transitions in Africa.

Keywords: post-conflict reconstruction, violence against women, sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS, women's health, gender analysis, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Health, HIV/AIDS, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2010

Violence Against Women in Northern Uganda: The Neglected Health Consequences of War


Liebling-Kalifani, Helen, Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng, Angela Marshall, Juliet Were-Oguttu, Seggane Musisi, and Eugene Kinyanda. 2008. “Violence against Women in Northern Uganda: The Neglected Health Consequences of War.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 9 (3): 174.

Authors: Helen Liebling-Kalifani, Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng, Angela Marshall, Juliet Were-Oguttu, Seggane Musisi, Eugene Kinyanda


This article presents a summary of research intervention work carried out in waraffected Northern Uganda by Isis-WICCE, a women’s international non-government organisation, in conjunction with the Ugandan Medical Association and funded by Medica Mondiale, a German-based foundation. The findings of this research demonstrate the serious effects of sexual violence and torture experienced on women’s physical and psychological health. However, this paper also describes women’s key role in trying to bring peace to this region, as well as their resistance and survival strategies. It is recommended that funding is urgently required for the provision of sustainable, gender sensitive physical and psychological health services in this region. Women’s campaign for justice for the atrocities they have suffered should be heard by the International Criminal Court. Further recommendations are made with respect to policy changes in line with enhancing women’s roles and furthering the empowerment of these women war survivors.

Keywords: women, war, health, sexual violence, Northern Uganda

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Justice, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008


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