Source: All Africa
ANY person who intentionally transmits HIV to another person commits an offence and on conviction the culprit shall be liable to life imprisonment. This amounts to gender violence and is partially what the HIV and AIDS Prevention Control Act (2007) seeks to curb.

In 1999 the pandemic was declared a national health hazard. At the moment the infection rate stands at about five per cent, thanks to sustained nationwide campaigns by the state and NGOs and other stakeholders in the welfare of Tanzanians. However, after a massive HIV testing campaign that took off on July 14, 2007, it was determined that the national infection rate figure had come down from a high of seven per cent to five per cent.

However, some people charge that some NGOs, institutions and individuals misappropriated donated funds that target alleviating the predicament of AIDS orphans and People Living With AIDS (PLWA). They are bitter that most of the money is spent on seminars, travel allowances and snacks. The general demand is that all donated AIDS funds be channeled through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare instead of falling into the hands of officials from TACAIDS, Global Fund or other NGOs. Other people are of the view that all PLWA be given condoms free of charge.

However, it adds that, "A person shall not be compelled to undergo HIV testing and that pregnant woman and every person attending a health care facility shall be counseled and offered voluntary HIV testing. It says all health practitioners, traditional birth attendants and any other person attending patients shall be encouraged to undergo HIV testing.

"Any health practitioner who compels any person to undergo HIV testing or procures HIV testing to another person without the knowledge of that other person commits an offence. "However," the Act points out that, "this can happen if the sick is unconscious and unable to give consent.

The results can also be given to a sexual partner of an HIV tested person or a court of law - if applicable. The Act also condemns sexual violence against women in the light of the fact that social vices such as rape result in HIV/AIDS transmission. In the mundane sense, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts. Coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life is regarded as violence in the legal world.

"Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men. This often results in the prevention of the full advancement of women. Violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions compared with men," a UN declaration (1993) says.

HIV-transmission risk increases during violent or forced-sex situations. The abrasions caused through forced penetration facilitate entry of the virus - a fact that is especially true for adolescent girls, whose reproductive tracts are less fully developed (UNAIDS).

While the full extent of violence against women is not known, current research from the World Health Organization indicates that in some countries one in four women may experience sexual violence by an intimate partner in her life time. Added to this is the violence that women experience from strangers. Several studies from different parts of the world indicate that up to one third of adolescent girls reported that their first sexual experience was coerced.

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