Gender, HIV/AIDS and Security

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a multi-dimensional global crisis. It was first read as a public health crisis, after which its developmental aspects began to be recognized. Its gender dimensions are now well-documented across the world. Security analysts have recently begun to map the multiple levels of the insecurity crisis caused by the spread of HIV/AIDS. Given that HIV/AIDS devastates societies over a period of time; like famine and disaster: Where in the spread and containment of the epidemic should a line be drawn to highlight that this impinges on societal, state or individual security?

Seeking to explore some of these issues, the second WISCOMP Forum was organized in February, 2008 in Chennai. It attempted to define the security crisis caused by HIV/AIDS in India, highlighting the experience of women as part of that definition. Given that structural context shapes the vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS and that the infection in turn aggravates their situation, the forum sought an engagement with some of these factors and consequences that can be defined as a source of security or insecurity, for women and for society at large. Acknowledging that HIV reinforces existing insecurities, and attempting to ensure that ones understanding of that include the insecurities experienced by women, the forum engaged the participants in an exploration and delineation of the gender dimension of the security challenge that is posed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The discussion at the Forum was around two pivots:

  • The nature of the latent human security problem in the gender-HIV/AIDS interface in India;
  • The ways in which violence, conflict and security makes worse the HIV/AIDS epidemic, increasing the vulnerability of women and girls.

Structured conversations, the WISCOMP Forum Series hallmark, were scheduled across five related areas of the problematic:

  • The development, security and HIV/AIDS interface
  • HIV/AIDS and food and livelihood security
  • The HIV/AIDS Public Health Crisis, gender and security
  • Violence against women
  • Conflict, HIV/AIDS and gender