A growing body of international research documents strong associations between gender-based violence and HIV, both in the general population and among high-risk subpopulations such as female sex workers. The causal pathways responsible are multiple and complex, thus conceptual clarity is needed to best inform population-based, clinical, and individually oriented interventions. Our brief overview is intended to provide an introduction to the research on the various mechanisms that link GBV to HIV risk. We review the evidence, describe the causal pathways, provide a conceptual framework, and outline prevention and intervention priorities at both the individual and population levels. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.