In less than two years the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire. We must address the need for more quality family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services if we are to achieve MDG 6 (to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). Read more about women and HIV.
At this year’s Women Deliver conference we are especially highlighting the complex and unmet needs of young women and girls under the age of 24, particularly those who are living with and are affected by HIV.
The missing link
We know that the majority of SRHR and HIV programmes focus on adults living with HIV or on married women of reproductive age. Young people are often underserved by these programmes, or in the case of young people from key populations such as men who have sex, sex workers, transgender people and people who use drugs, not served at all. Download the UNAIDS factsheet on Adolescents, young people and HIV.
Advocating to ‘fill the gap’
The Alliance is part of a consortium of national and international NGOs which is responsible for implementing Link Up, a three year project which aims to improve the sexual and reproductive health of one million young people living and affected by HIV aged 10-24, including young women and girls.
As well as establishing and delivering integrated, youth-friendly services in five countries, the project aims to change policies and advocate for legislative reforms at national and global levels to support the linkages between SRHR and HIV programming, and protect young vulnerable people from harassment and abuse.
Felicia Wong, the Alliance’s Senior Advisor for Asia and Eastern Europe, who is leading the Alliance’s activities at Women Deliver, said: “Young women and girls are hindered by factors such as community attitudes, early marriage, gender violence and stigma and discrimination. This is particularly the case if they are living with HIV, sell sex or use drugs.”
“Women Deliver provides us with an opportunity to talk to decision makers responsible for commissioning and funding SRHR programmes. They need to ensure their policies support young women and girls in all their diversity to access high quality, stigma-free services which respond to their specific needs.”