Developing and implementing global gender policy to reduce HIV and AIDS in low- and middle -income countries: Policy makers’ perspectives
Gender inequalities have been recognised as central to the HIV epidemic for many years. In response, a range of gender policies have been developed in attempts to mitigate the impact and transform gender relations. However, the effects of these policies have been less than successful. In March 2010 the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched the Agenda for accelerated country level action on women, girls, gender equality and HIV (the Agenda), an operational plan on how to integrate women, girls and gender equality into the HIV response. This paper explores the perspectives of those involved in developing and implementing the Agenda to understand its strengths and limitations. In-depth one-on-one interviews were conducted with 16 individuals involved in the development and implementation of the Agenda. The data were analysed using thematic network analysis. Facilitators of the Agenda centred on the Agenda’s ability to create political space for women and girls within the global HIV/AIDS response and the collaborative process of developing the Agenda. Barriers to the implementation and development of the Agenda include the limited financial and non-financial resources, the top-down nature of the Agenda’s development and implementation and a lack of political will from within UNAIDS to implement it. We suggest that the Agenda achieved many goals, but its effect was constrained by a wide range of factors.