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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

A historic first: HIV and rape as tools of genocide in Rwanda

Anne-christine D'Adesky, MS, Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment, 3345 22nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, 415 690-6199, acd66@hotmail.com, Mardge Cohen, MD, The CORE Center, 2020 W. Harrison, Chicago, IL 60612, Mary Fabri, PhD, Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Victims of Torture, 1331 W. Albion, Chicago, IL 60626, Kathryn Anastos, MD, Epidemiology, Montefiore Medical Center, 3311 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467, and Gabo Wilson, Survivors Fund, PO Box 4551, Kigali, Rwanda.

Issues: 67% of 250,000 Rwandan women raped in 1994 have HIV, some deliberately exposed to a "slow poison” by genocide perpetrators – the first historic use of HIV as a weapon of war. Access to treatment is life-saving and an issue of justice.

Description: The Tubeho Project (“To Live Again” in Kinyarwanda), a grassroots oral history archival project documents Rwandan women's experiences from the genocide. The multimedia traveling exhibition includes photographs and recorded testimonies by Rwanda rape survivors, witnesses, and those now living with HIV and AIDS. Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment initiative (WE-ACTx) and the UK-based Survivor's Fund (SURF), with input from AVEGA-Est, chapter of the genocide survivors group created a pilot exhibit called “Speaking the Unspeakable: Rwandan Women's Stories of Resistance” for U.S. touring.

Lessons: The project provides a grassroots vehicle for survivors to document their experience, providing a platform to speak out publicly, educate others, and discuss the impact of sexual violence, rape and HIV on their lives, on Rwanda's recovery, and globally. Connections are made to ongoing use of rape in regional civil wars in Sudan, northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project's important education and prevention message is: Never Again!

Recommendations: The Tubeho Project can be used to educate a global public and policy makers about impact of gender-based violence on vulnerable populations, including women and children, and how such violence impacts on our global and national efforts to control the spread and impact of the HIV epidemic.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Human Rights: War, Rape and HIV in Women

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA