The face of HIV/AIDS has changed greatly since the early years of the epidemic. Western scientists first understood HIV/AIDS as a health concern of men, especially gay men. It took time and overdue research to understand that women are physiologically more vulnerable to HIV transmission than men, at least where heterosexual transmission is concerned. It took even more time to bring the world around to the idea that physiological factors were only one aspect of women's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, women and girls have accounted for a steadily larger proportion of new HIV transmission, both in Canada and internationally, primarily as a result of sex with a male partner living with HIV. Not enough has been done to address the poverty, subordination, violence and human rights abuses that drive the epidemic among women and compound its impact upon them.
We research and analyze the role that the law plays in perpetuating women's poverty, lack of access to health care and social services, lack of rights awareness, vulnerability to violence, and exposure to stigma and discrimination. In close collaboration with women's groups, we develop and advocate for legal and policy frameworks that respect protect and fulfill women's human rights, with the ultimate goal of reducing the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS among women and girls.