Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a rapidly worsening HIV and AIDS epidemic. Gender-based violence is common and is, in part, fuelling the spread of HIV. We argue that the situation in PNG illustrates very clearly why ‘mainstreaming’ HIV into all aspects of development simply cannot happen without serious attention to gender inequities. We describe a scheme in the oil palm industry in PNG that specifically targets women to ensure that they benefit from playing a part in the harvesting of oil palm. This scheme is not only giving women economic independence but is also reducing conflict and gender-based violence and in so doing can begin to contribute to the arresting of the spread of HIV.