The Summit’s ambitious aim - providing 120 million women with the lifesaving contraceptives and services they need- is something very close to our hearts as there are such integral linkages between HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
British Aid will provide an additional 24 million girls and women in the world’s poorest countries with family planning services between now and 2020 as announced today by the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell. This will not only prevent unintended pregnancies but also help prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
At a side event at the summit organised by the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Network with the UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development to look at the importance of integrating HIV and family planning services, DFID’s under secretary of state Stephen O’Brien stressed the need for the HIV and family planning communities to work in unison to reach collective goals. He went on to talk about how reducing the unmet need for family planning is critical for making progress on HIV by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies in HIV positive women of childbearing age, reducing the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths and reducing the number of HIV infections among children.
Felicia Wong, the Alliance’s policy advisor, commented: “Reproductive choice is a basic human right, yet women living with HIV are reporting human rights violations such as coerced abortion and sterilization, or denial of the right to be sexually active and have children.
“Today’s announcements on increasing access to contraception bring some hope that things will be different for future generations but we need to join up safe family planning and HIV services in order to make real headway in reaching vulnerable and marginalised populations and respond more fully to their needs. We also need to be mindful of the fact that integration will only work if countries really own their response and harness the power of community mobilisation which we have seen used so effectively in the HIV response.”