29 November 2012

Uganda: Domestic Violence Key Player in Spread of HIV

Domestic violence has been cited as a huge player in the increased spread of HIV among married couples in Uganda.

Tina Musuya, the executive director of Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention a Non-Governmental Organization based in Kamwokya, called on Government to support initiatives by different stake holders in the fight against domestic violence.

In a press conference at the NGO's offices, Musuya said: "Government should train the police, Courts of Law, religious leaders and LCs at local levels about the law against domestic violence and these in turn can take the message to the grass root."

She said that the named service providers spend billions in addressing the effects of domestic violence.

She said some victims had lost lives which cannot be replaced and others have become handicapped.

According to the Uganda Demographics Health Survey carried out in 2011, 59% of women experience violence as do 16% pregnant women. The study also shows that 28% of women have experienced sexual violence.

The police annual crime report 2011 indications are worrying - over 463 cases of rape, 7542 cases of defilement and 9343 cases of domestic violence.

Violence against women has been said to impact negatively on economic development of the country and increases women's risk to acquiring HIV infection.

The 2012 report done on the Economic Cost of Domestic Violence in Uganda by the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) found out that government loses an estimated Sh.57.9 billion annually to deal with domestic violence.

Current statistics from the Uganda ministry of health AIDS indicator survey 2011 indicates that Uganda's HIV/AIDS prevalence has increased from 6.5% in 2006 to 7.4% in 2011 especially among married couples.

And the reason for this is clear. Often times women are unable to negotiate safer sex due to their 'lower status', economic dependency and fear of violence from their male intimate partners.

Musuya asked all stakeholders to come together and support them in their 16 days of activism on violence against women programme that started on November 25 till December 10.

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