This paper focuses on how gender-based violence intersects with HIV/AIDS in ways too devastating to be ignored. Women's subordinate position is linked to poverty, sexual abuse/rape, and the risk to women in long-term union. The country's pioneering steps to establish legal and judicial frameworks for dealing with these problems are discussed. Introduction South Africa faces a number of problems such as high unemployment and persistent poverty that have continued to make up development challenges. These problems are however being compounded by the negative impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, for example, dwindling life expectancy (Paul Perret, AWID Resource Net Friday File, Issue 161, 23 January 2004). With less than one percent of the worlds' 15-24 year-olds, the country accounts for roughly 14 percent of global HIV infections among this age group. Young women are at particular risk. Within this age group, there are five infected females for every two infected males (Fredriksson and Berry 2001). This problem is further aggravated by gender-based violence such as rape and domestic violence. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, defines it (violence against women) as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. Gender-based violence contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the world (WHO 2002; UNAIDS 2003). It (gender-based violence) is one of the most widespread human rights abuses and public health problems in the world today, affecting as many as one out of every three women (Pan American Health Organization [PAHO] 2003). It takes many forms--physical, emotional, or sex abuse. South Africa is said to have the highest statistics of gender-based violence in the world and this includes rape and domestic violence (Foster 1999; The Integrated Regional Network [IRIN], Johannesburg, South Africa, 25 May 2002). For example, the incidences of rape are high. Though it is estimated that a woman is raped every 26 seconds, the estimate given by the South African police is that one woman is raped every 36 seconds (Nicole Itano, Women's Enews, 28 February, 2003). The trauma of gender-based violence such as rape can last a lifetime. Rape survivors often face a myriad of emotional, physical, legal, and medical issues, resulting in significant repercussions. For example, the aftermath of rape be it marital or otherwise is compounded by the risk of HIV transmission. Many women are helpless and feel a prolonged fear for their safety.