Service providers knowledge, attitudes and practices about the interlink of gender based violence and HIV/AIDS, case study of Barbados authors
D.A. King1,2, D. Baird3, D. Sarpong4
1SAHARA: Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance, CHAIR, Continental Advisory Board, Pretoria, South Africa, 2Ariel Foundation, Inc., Cruessen, Germany, 3Maryland University, College Park, United States, 4Jackson State University, Mississippi, United States
Background: Violence against women is rooted in gender inequality. Gender based violence (GBV) has become widely understood as a serious violation of a woman's basic human rights that impacts women in virtually all societies. GBV is both a cause and a consequence of the unparallel spread of HIV among women in the Caribbean. Studies have linked violence against women with HIV/AIDS risk. This study presents a review of the complex linkages between GBV and HIV/AIDS. The role of service providers in addressing these dual and inter-related epidemics, as well as their knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) were examined.
Methods: A structured quantitative survey instrument designed based on the International
Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region's Provider Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Survey Questionnaire were administered to 65 service providers. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the level of KAP of the service providers relative to GBV.
Results: Of the 65 service providers (SPs) who completed the survey, 42 (64.5%) were females. Their age range was 30-65 years with a mean of 51 years. Fifty four percent of the SPs indicated that HIV/AIDS is a significant problem in their community and accurately linked sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health problems and unprotected sex with GBV. About 62% of the SPs think that HIV/AIDS programs and services including Volunteer Counseling Services and Testing Centers (VCTs) should incorporate screening and referral for GBV.
Conclusions: Barbadian Service providers are confronted with GBV and HIV/AIDS on a regular basis. Yet, they need the support of informational seminars, referral lists, and a more integrated violence service plan to provide the intellectual, social and emotional support to both the providers, who themselves have experienced violence and their clients. Integration of programs within various settings is the key to an effective address to the feminization of HIV/AIDS and the undisputable connection to GBV.
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