GENDER INEQUALITY, HIV/AIDS AND GENDER POLICIES IN JOS NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

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GENDER INEQUALITY, HIV/AIDS AND GENDER POLICIES IN JOS NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

Abstract:

Thirty years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, women still remain the largest at-risk group in Nigeria. Whereas the government has acknowledged the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS and has developed and implemented gender-sensitive HIV/AIDS programmes, interventions, policies, and strategies, significant challenges remains. This study investigates practices that reinforce gender inequality in Jos North and their implications for policy. The approach in this study is not entirely new. We rely on gender and power theory to understand the phenomenon under investigation. A cross-sectional survey of three categories of sexually active respondents was conducted between September 2010 and February 2011. This was to ascertain the factors that limit their ability to protect themselves against HIV and their implications to policy. These categories of respondents include: 900 people from 30 different clusters, 200 PLWHIV in an NGO, 100 programme managers from NGOs and the State’s AIDS Control Agency (PLACA). The instrument for data collection was the questionnaire and interview while descriptive results were obtained using the SPSS software. Of the 900 respondents in clusters, 60.7% indicated that religion was a barrier; while among the 200 PLWHIV, 28.7% stated that religion was a barrier against the effective utilization of available prevention methods. Furthermore, Of the 100 programme managers in the entire Local Government Area, 96% indicated that gender inequality impacts negatively on prevention programmes. While 60% of the 10 interviewees indicated that religious manipulation was at the root of female subjugation, the remaining 40% reported that policy makers were not committed to empowering women. The findings of the study suggest that religious manipulation is the major issue which reinforces gender inequality in the LGA, as religious leaders seems to manipulate the tenets of Islam and Christianity to enhance men’s inherent desire to subjugate women; those who wield power in the private sphere use it to further their interest in the public sphere. This might explain why anti-stigma bill has been passed into law, while legislations that empower women are still pending in Plateau State. In order to adequately address this challenge, the AIDS Control Agency has to get the active involvement of faith leaders, since they wield a lot of influence on religious adherents and on policy in Nigeria

GENDER INEQUALITY, HIV/AIDS AND GENDER POLICIES IN JOS NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

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