Gender based violence and HIV/AIDS among married couples in Uganda: A case of Bagezza Subcounty, Mubende District
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It is apparent from the ongoing account that HIV/AIDS prevention strategies are developing some serious cracks, at least with respect to married couples. This report profiles findings from the study entitled Gender Based Violence and HIV/AIDS among married couples in Uganda: A case study of Bagezza Sub-county, Mubende District. The survey was conducted in the four parishes of Ntungamo, Gayaza, Kibalinga and Nabikakala. The study objectives were; To identify and assess the relevant human rights instruments in regard to GBV and HIV/AIDS; Establish knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and practices among the married people, identify factors contributing to GBV and HIV infections among the married couples; Establish the gender and cultural dynamics of HIV and GBV among the married couples, Establish the link between GBV and HIV&AIDS among the married couples, and Recommend to policy makers on strategies to address GBV and HIV&AIDS. The study hypothesized that: gender-based violence invariably leads to HIV/AIDS. Conversely, that there exists a formidable correlation between gender based violence and HIV/AIDS. This was a cross sectional and exploratory study in design involving the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection. A structured questionnaire sectioned along themes was used to collect quantitative data from sexually active men and women while un-structured questionnaires in form of discussion and interviews were used. Documentary Review, Key Informant Interviews, Focus Group Discussions were also used to collect data. The study revealed GBV was clearly driven by the ‘sanctity’ and cherishing of culture, absence of sexual education, the subservience in which girls and women were socialized into that is neatly knit into the household political economy. Exigencies such as persisting land wrangles and poverty had inadvertently led to rising levels of GBV such as abandoning spouses, early and forced marriages also led to HIV&AIDS infections in a broader deprivation context. This collapse and absence of livelihoods had formed a deadly partnership that spreads GBV and HIV&AIDS that covertly undermine human resilience in the area since mere survival is what takes centre stage with anything else seen as a supplement of life where GBV is seen as a secondary concern. Cultural practices, limited sensitization and limited access to services contributed to GBV. Conclusion: the study has depicted the visible and hidden complexities of HIV&AIDS and GBV in the area as re-enforcing each other. Recommendation, there is need for a well-planned behaviour change communication (BCC) within the target communities, lobbying the various stakeholders including cultural leaders and government officials on the need to address the realities of HIV & AIDS and GBV.