Preventing sexual violence and HIV in children

Literature Reviews
7 p.
Periodical title
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 2014 Jul 1;66 Suppl 2:S217-23

BACKGROUND: Evidence linking violence against women and HIV has grown, including on the cycle of violence and the links between violence against children and women. To create an effective response to the HIV epidemic, it is key to prevent sexual violence against children and intimate partner violence (IPV) against adolescent girls. METHODS: Authors analyzed data from national household surveys on violence against children undertaken by governments in Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, with support of the Together for Girls initiative, as well as an analysis of evidence on effective programmes. RESULTS: Data show that sexual and physical violence in childhood are linked to negative health outcomes, including increased sexual risk taking (eg, inconsistent condom use and increased number of sexual partners), and that girls begin experiencing IPV (emotional, physical, and sexual) during adolescence. Evidence on effective programmes addressing childhood sexual violence is growing. Key interventions focus on increasing knowledge among children and caregivers by addressing attitudes and practices around violence, including dating relationships. Programmes also seek to build awareness of services available for children who experience violence. DISCUSSION: Findings include incorporating attention to children into HIV and violence programmes directed to adults; increased coordination and leveraging of resources between these programmes; test transferability of programmes in low- and middle-income countries; and invest in data collection and robust evaluations of interventions to prevent sexual violence and IPV among children. CONCLUSIONS: This article contributes to a growing body of evidence on the prevention of sexual violence and HIV in children.

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