Shining a light on women and HIV: NAT’s pledge to make women and HIV #InvisibleNoLonger
This week, a vitally important report has been published – entitled ‘Women and HIV: Invisible No Longer’, the report is the culmination of a one year research project conducted by Sophia Forum and Terrence Higgins Trust into the needs of women affected by HIV.
Shockingly, this report is the first of its kind in the UK. Women have long been underrepresented in HIV research – studies have found that cis women make up a minority in HIV studies and trans women are often excluded, undercounted and misgendered as MSM. [i] This is reflective of the gender gap in medical research more widely, with women routinely underrepresented in medical trials.[ii] Not only is this underrepresentation inequitable and undesirable as a point of principle, it can also lead to inaccurate scientific conculsions and a reduction in the quality of healthcare.[iii]
At the report launch event yesterday, we discussed solutions to the comprehensive findings of the report – touching upon issues ranging from prevention needs and late diagnosis, to living well with HIV and visibility and representation in data and research. There was visible excitement and energy in the room as participants identified ways we can better work together and what we need to be asking of public insititutions and government. With Public Health England committing on the day to providing women-only data tables, recording data in a way that better reflects women’s diverse sexualities and publishing a spotlight report on women, it feels like we are off to a good start.
At NAT, we are keen to support the work of Sophia Forum and THT in making women and HIV #InvisibleNoLonger. On International Women’s Day this year, we published a blog highlighting five areas where we are advocating to improve the lives of all women living with or at risk of HIV. However, we are acutely aware that so much more can be done. We therefore reaffirm our commitments to ensuring women and HIV are #InvisibleNoLonger:
- On visibility and representation
- To increasingly use a gendered analysis in our research and policy work to consider particular impact on women
- To see women and HIV through a lens that considers intersectionality and responds to the differing needs and experiences of different groups
- To foreground case studies of women in our work
- On meaningful participation
- To ensure that we actively consult with women living with HIV, and prioritise addressing policy gaps that are specific to women, when prioritising our work
- To seek opportunities where possible to work with peer-researchers and explore co-production
- On increasing communication
- To add our voice and influence to work throughout the sector that foregrounds women and calls for improvements
We hope that these actions will contribute to the groundswell in the HIV sector and beyond to making women and HIV #InvisibleNoLonger.