Today, on international Human Rights Day, take action to ensure that every woman in the world has access to the reproductive healthcare and family planning services she is entitled to.
The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, established in 1948, states in Article 25 that every person has the right to medical care for both themselves and their families. But in several parts of the world, that fundamental human right is not being upheld. Every minute, a young woman becomes newly infected with HIV, and the vast majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted.
Women need reproductive health programs to be integrated with HIV/AIDS services, and vice-versa, for improved efficiency and effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection and unplanned pregnancy and improving maternal and child health.
The United States, through PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which principally operates in sub-Saharan Africa – has made an unprecedented commitment to helping create an AIDS Free Generation.
Even though PEPFAR advocates a commitment to integrated services, PEPFAR funds cannot be used to purchase family planning commodities, nor are family planning services provided at PEPFAR sites, meaning that women cannot access a full range of contraceptives at the same site where they receive HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, or treatment.
Integrating HIV/AIDS programs with family planning services will help women with HIV plan or prevent pregnancy, address stigma by mainstreaming service provision, and improve quality of care. Take action now. The fight against HIV/AIDS must include comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls.
This is a human right and we must fight to protect it. Today, on international Human Rights Day, take a stand and tell leaders we won’t accept anything less.