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A call to action against gender-based violence

in INDIA, 16/03/2014

UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan recently joined UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Dr Luiz Loures and the Indian Secretary of the Department of AIDS Control Dr VK Subburaj on a mission in Mumbai to highlight the impact of gender-based violence and the need to continue scaling up efforts to stop new HIV infections among children.

Held on International Women’s Day—8 March—the mission was an opportunity for Mrs Rai Bachchan to raise awareness around issues of gender-based violence and advocate for more work to be done in India to promote gender equality, the empowerment of women and provide support to people affected by gender-based violence. The delegation visited the Dilaasa project, the first public hospital-based crisis centre in India designed to respond to the needs of women facing sexual violence and violence within their homes and families.

Globally women are 55% more likely to be HIV-positive if they have experienced intimate partner violence.  A study among married women in India established that physical and sexual violence by husbands was associated with a nearly four-fold increase in the prevalence of HIV infection.

During the visit to the Dilaasa clinic the group met with staff as well as some of the women personally affected by gender-based violence. They heard about the importance of the critical support offered by the crisis centre as well as the empowerment the centre provided by allowing access to services that had not been previously available.

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