This 2007 Human Rights Watch report finds that while Zambia is one of many countries setting ambitious targets for rapidly scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS, women's unequal status in Zambian society grievously undermines women's access and adherence to ART. The report finds a stark connection between gender-based violence, women's right to property, and women's ability to have access to and adhere to ART and other HIV treatment programs. Though the Zambian government has ratified multiple international treaties regarding the rights of women and has established police units specifically to address gender-based abuse women are still not able to either receive ART or continue to take it safely and on a regular basis. To uphold women's rights and dignity, and to ensure the success of HIV treatment programs, Hidden in the Mealie Meal encourages Zambia to transform their commitments, such as dedication to the United Nation Millennium Development Goals, into concrete action. The report recommendations include that the Zambian government denounce and adopt specific legislation to target gender-based violence, review and transform the specific discriminatory aspect of Zambian customary law towards women, and ensure that HIV treatment counselors integrate screenings on counseling for gender-based violence.
This report is intended as a tool or template for international HIV/AIDS, health rights, and women's rights advocates seeking to implement similar national policy changes.