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INTEGRATING GENDER ISSUES INTO HIV/AIDS PROGRAMS: A SURVEY STUDY IN SELECTED GOVERNMENT AND NGOS OFFICES WORKING ON GENDER AND HIV/AIDS ISSUES IN MEKELLE, TIGRAY [Abstract ID: 1101-01]
HIV/AIDS and gender are closely linked issues in contemporary development planning particularly in developing countries in light of the proportion of people directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic. Gender norms play a central part in shaping the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic because they significantly affect the attitudes towards sex and information sharing on sexual behavior, risk-taking and fidelity. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the most serious threats to social and economic development particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ethiopia HIV/AIDS is a major development challenge as it is taking the life of many active and productive segment of the population supposed to have a key role in the country’s development endeavor. Despite the pandemic being common to all gender and age groups; due to the low income, poor attitude and low economic empowerment, women have been the main victims. The main objective of this study deals with analysis of integrating Gender issues into HIV/AIDS Programs by assessing complementary and interrelated steps for integrating Gender issues into HIV/AIDS programs. This study conducted in Mekelle town of Tigray that was selected for its proximity to Tigray Regional Head offices. This study used both primary data via questionnaire and secondary data via literatures. The study was conducted in 100 randomly selected, via systematic random sampling technique with 79% response rate, Governmental and NGOs involved in Gender issues and HIV/AIDS programs. The collected data was processed via editing, coding and summarizing; and finally was analyzed using descriptive statistics; spearman rho correlation; and factor analysis. The findings showed that all the steps for the integration system of Gender issues into HIV/AIDS are interrelated among each other and all except using checklist to identify interventions that address female and male vulnerability and risk factors; are conducted completely in the existing system of integration. The addressing factors for their integration include: Economic self-sufficiency; promotions (publicity); counseling; and providing health care facilities. The organizations do give higher attention to counseling a reactive solution instead of promotions (publicities) proactive solutions. Thus, all stakeholders need to focus on the addressing factors and adjust the gaps.