The results show an increase in community dialogue on SRH and rights, more equal gender relations between girls and boys and a reduction in sexual abuse, early marriage and pregnancy.
In the Caribbean community outreach workers are reaching sex workers with information on SRH and HIV, along with female condoms, in the venues where they hang out. Worried about the protection of their children they are spurned on to have an HIV test, accompanied by the outreach worker. They access the services they need and are encouraged to use condoms consistently, protecting themselves, their clients and their clients’ partners.
Sexual and reproductive ill-health and HIV share root causes, including poverty, gender norms and inequality, cultural norms and rights violations.
Building women’s leadership in health responses is critical to moving the situation forward. Whilst women are more likely to use the health care system than men, they face challenges accessing health services. One significant step would be to remove user fees for women’s maternal health services.
“The WHO report echoes what the Alliance aims to do in its work, which is to strengthen health systems so that they meet the needs of women appropriately. Linking SRHR and HIV programmes play an important role in efforts to achieve universal access to both reproductive health and HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and ultimately improve women’s health,” said Halmshaw.