Different Disasters, Differential Impacts: The Effect of Droughts and Floods on Women's HIV Burden in Developing Nations

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:06
Oral Presentation
Virginia BERNDT, University of Delaware, Disaster Research Center, USA
Environmental change is an under-examined factor impacting women’s health, globally. Climate-related disasters lack research in their connection to HIV, but nevertheless potentially have a tremendous impact on women’s health in a variety of ways. Drawing on ecofeminist perspectives as a theoretical basis, I conduct analyses examining if the HIV burden among women is higher in nations that experience elevated rates of floods and droughts. In so doing, I examine whether different disasters impact women’s health in different ways. Specifically, I posit that droughts, which are unpredictable, prolonged, and less understood, more negatively affect women’s HIV burden than floods. I utilize two cross-national datasets and conduct ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to explore and interpret these relationships between climate-related disasters and women’s HIV burden across developing nations. Overall, the results support the hypotheses, and also reveal important interaction effects between droughts and urban growth. Together, these findings suggest that suffering from disasters and moving to rapidly growing urban environments differentially impact women’s health, as transactional sex likely becomes a coping mechanism in the face of such hardships.