Widespread Rape Does Not Directly Appear to Increase the Overall HIV Prevalence in Conflict-Affected Countries: So Now What?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Aranka Anema, Michel R Joffres, Edward Mills, Paul B Spiegel

Our findings show that even in the most extreme situations, where 15% of the female population was raped, where HIV prevalence among assailants was 8 times the country population prevalence, and where the HIV transmission rate was highest at 4 times the average high rate, widespread rape increased the absolute HIV prevalence of these countries by only 0.023%. These projections support the finding that widespread rape in conflict-affected countries in SSA has not incurred a major direct population-level change in HIV prevalence. However, this must not be interpreted to say that widespread rape does not pose serious problems to women's acquisition of HIV on an individual basis or in specific settings. Furthermore, direct and indirect consequences of sexual violence, such as physical and psychosocial trauma, unwanted pregnancies, and stigma and discrimination cannot be understated.

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