SRHR and HIV
An integrated approach to HIV and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) is essential to the HIV response.
The Alliance promotes the integration of HIV and SRHR work through its programming and policy work. Maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) is a key aspect of this.
Why link HIV and SRHR/MNCH?
Poor sexual reproductive health and HIV infection share many root causes in poverty, gender inequality, stigma and cultural norms.
Family planning and HIV programmes also share many desired outcomes in dual protection, the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and human rights for all, and a reduction in maternal, newborn and child mortality.
Integrating sexual reproductive health, MNCH and HIV services makes sense.
We focus on people who are most vulnerable to and affected by HIV and sexual and reproductive ill-health (key populations). This includes people living with HIV, young people, sex workers, people who use drugs, and men who have sex with men. It is important to keep key populations and HIV positive clients at the centre of integration efforts; address the stigma and discrimination that reduce their access; and promote their rights and participation.
The Alliance approach
The Alliance works with communities to reach those populations that are key to the HIV epidemic, while creating a series of entry points to the continuum of SRHR/MNCH interventions. These include community based organisations (CBOs) doing the following:
- providing integrated health information, education and counselling on SRH/HIV e.g. for preventing unintended pregnancies and HIV/STIs
- distributing contraceptives, lubricants and condoms
- community mobilisation and peer education to increase demand for HIV and SRH/MNCH services and to change harmful social, cultural and gender norms, which are a barrier to SRH and the HIV response
- accompanying people to access HIV and SRH/MNCH services such as Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT), family planning, STI, Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) services
- training healthcare workers on the SRH/MNCH needs of people living with HIV and key populations
- advocacy for policies, supportive laws and appropriate health spending that promote access to integrated SRH/HIV services, and uphold the sexual and reproductive rights of all including people living with HIV and key populations.
The Alliance approach is defined by our good practice programming standards, Good Practice Guide on the Integration of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV Update on integrating maternal, newborn and child health into community-based HIV programmes.
The Alliance/Marie Stopes International (MSI) partnership works to enhance HIV and SRHR integration across the policies, programmes and services of both organisations in order to:
- prevent HIV and STIs
- broadening access to quality, stigma-free family planning and HIV/AIDS testing and treatment
- decrease maternal mortality and reduce unwanted pregnancy.
- Link Up (2013-16) is an ambitious, five country programme which aims to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of more than one million young people living with and affected by HIV in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Uganda. Read more here.
- 27 Alliance Linking Organisations (over 75%) actively integrate at least one component of SRH into HIV programming e.g. mobilising communities in the provision of information, education and referrals and linkages
- A DFID HIV-related Maternal Mortality project (2010-11) reached over 100,000 people in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and South Sudan and supported civil society to mobilise communities and strengthen in-country advocacy and policy development in order to improve health outcomes for women living with HIV. Read more here.
- Alliance Zambia has been implementing a youth focused SRH/HIV integrated programme which also covers implementing partners in Swaziland and Malawi. The focus is sexuality education for young people including HIV prevention, gender sensitive approaches and increasing utilisation of HIV/SRH services.
- In Asia and Eastern Europe, SRHR/HIV integration work is taking place to meet the unmet SRH needs of key populations and PLHIV including in India, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
- In Latin America and the Caribbean, advocacy and community mobilization activities have taken place to increase access to SRH and other health services with key populations and people living with HIV e.g. Instituto Desarrollo Humano (IDH) in Bolivia.
Drawing on the global experience of the Alliance
Through the work and experience of our partners across the globe we have been able to contribute to policy work at the international level. Through participation in international networks such as the Interagency Working Group on SRHR and HIV integration and linkages, the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health, the UK SRHR Network and the UK NGO AIDS Consortium to ensure cross-sector learning and synergy.