207802 HIV and H2O: Tracing the connections between gender, water and HIV

Monday, November 9, 2009: 5:30 PM

Brooke S. West, MA , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jennifer S. Hirsch, PhD , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY

The health consequences for HIV-affected families of inadequate access to safe water are particularly dire: inadequate access to clean water complicates medication adherence and increases vulnerability to opportunistic infections. The gendered nature of both water and HIV care—with women bearing disproportionately the time and resource burden in both areas—presents an unrealized opportunity to improve HIV outcomes through investments in water and sanitation. This presentation reviews and synthesizes existing literature and interventions on HIV and water, advancing this work with particular attention to the important role that gender plays in this process.


We conducted a review of research on the gendered burden of water and on water/sanitation and HIV, including existing interventions linking water and HIV/AIDS. We then developed a logic model to describe how water, HIV, and gender intersect.


Strong evidence links HIV/AIDS health outcomes to water, sanitation, and hygiene, but few evaluations have rigorously assessed the impact of water interventions on HIV/AIDS outcomes. Even less attention has been paid to the role of gender in shaping the interaction between safe water and HIV/AIDS. The paper presents a model and proposes an intervention design through which we can further explore the paths between gender, water and HIV/AIDS health outcomes.


This review assesses the intersection of gender, HIV, and water, mapping the connections between women's double burden of resource collection and HIV treatment and care, and suggests a structural intervention to address these factors.

Learning Objectives:
Describe and evaluate the existing literature on HIV/AIDS and water. Formulate a logic model to describe how water, HIV/AIDS, and gender intersect. Identify key areas in the intersection of gender, HIV, and water that are important to the design of structural interventions to address these factors.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Water

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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