Structural violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS among women in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
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The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of structural violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls in Bulawayo. It is noted that the spread of HIV/ AIDS is high among women and girls in Bulawayo, similarly to the rest of the world. There have been a number of studies that were carried out seeking to find out what causes the spread among women, but it seems as if there has not been a substantial solution to the problem, as the rate of infection is still escalating. There has not been much work done in connection with the causes of the spread of HIV/AIDS among in Bulawayo. A qualitative method of collecting data was used; these are structured individual interviews and focus group interviews. An interview guide was designed for individual interviews, who were informants in the city working directly with affected and infected women. To complement the interviews, focus groups interviews were held with two groups of people, “Touch the Hem” (HIV) support groups and a group of commercial sex workers in the city. An interview guide was also designed for the focus group interview, based on issues that needed clarity and verification from the individual interviews. Permission was granted by individuals involved and ethical considerations of conducting the study were carefully considered. The findings of the study indicated that the spread of HIV among women is caused by high levels of concurrent sexual partners, early sex by girls with older men who are already infected with HIV, gender imbalances, commercial sex work, domestic violence, imbalances in sexual relationships, lack of health information and poverty. It was indicated by the findings of this study that some of these causes have links with structural violence. It is recommended that both men and women should be educated on health and HIV related issues, and that exploitative and unjust, cultural, political and socioeconomic structural systems should be eradicated in order to establish positive peace.