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GMHC Statement on National Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV Day

10.22.2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Cub Barrett | 212-367-1561 | cubb@gmhc.org

Today, October 23, is the National Day of Action to End Violence against Women Living with HIV.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) remains highly concerned that not enough is being done to protect women from violence in our society—especially women living with HIV, who are far more likely to experience violence. We are equally concerned that many people are not aware of the relationship between violence against women and health outcomes, in addition to the connection between violence against women and the risk of HIV transmission.

According to a 2015 study by the Well Project, women in abusive relationships are less likely to be able to ask their partners to use protection during sexual relationships due to fear of a potentially violent response. Forced sexual acts/penetrative sex acts can cause cuts, scrapes, and tears, all of which enhance HIV’s ability to enter the body.

And according to the Positive Women’s Network, women who are living with HIV in the United States are five time more likely to experience violence and abuse than are women who are not living with HIV.

We urge the Trump Administration to re-open the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), which has historically coordinated the federal government’s activities on HIV, and ensure that it is provided with the financial and staffing resources necessary to take action to end violence against women living with HIV.

 At GMHC we offer a number of programs to specifically address women’s needs in this area, including:

  • The Domestic Violence Response Team, which offers crisis interventions, safety planning, and care coordination to any GMHC client who has experienced domestic violence.
  • Women Empowering Women, which uses counseling and evidence-based interventions to support women at all stages of substance use recovery.
  • Parenting groups to support families who face the multiple challenges of care taking, family re-integration, HIV disclosure, and permanency planning.
  • The Safety in Housing Program, which provides crisis intervention, counseling, and housing assistance to HIV-positive survivors of domestic or sexual violence.

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About Gay Men's Health Crisis: Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit  www.gmhc.org.