Greentree II: The evidence on HIV and sexual violence

07 September 2016
Annie Holmes

What do we know about the links between HIV and violence against women and girls (VAWG)?

A STRIVE consultation set out to advance understanding of this association and to identify strategies to address it. A benchmark report by Lori Heise and Elizabeth McGrory presents the meeting’s conclusions and the evidence behind them.

Greentree report

Organised by STRIVE, with support from WHOUNICEFUNAIDS and the Greentree Foundation, the Greentree II consultation built on a prior meeting (Greentree I, March 2012) that explored the physiology of sexual violence and its role in HIV transmission and acquisition. The report from that first meeting outlined a broad agenda for clarifying the role that genital trauma and forced sex play in facilitating HIV acquisition, especially among young women. Greentree II was convened to extend this enquiry to examine the broader structural and social factors that affect the association between HIV and VAWG.  

As the report details, Greentree II took place against a backdrop of heightened concern about risk of infection among young women, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Key players within the global HIV arena, such as the Global Fund and UNAIDS, have made the needs of girls and young women more visible in their policies. PEPFAR’s DREAMS initiative (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women) invests significant sums to tackle young women’s risks, including addressing VAWG.  

The diverse set of policy makers, clinical, epidemiological and social science experts and programme implementers attending Greentree II set out to:

  • examine the existing evidence base on the links between VAWG and HIV and  identify critical knowledge gaps
  • develop a conceptual model that captures the potential pathways through which  violence influences HIV-related outcomes
  • propose a research agenda to resolve outstanding questions
  • suggest priority actions for policy, programmes and research

Download the pdf of the report here.