Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

03 November 2011

Ribbons Without Rights Don't Save Lives

via The Huffington Post, by Serra Sippel

Last month, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with George W. Bush Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and UNAIDS, launched the global "Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon" campaign, an initiative that integrates cervical and breast cancer education, screening, and treatment with HIV services. It's a move that has the potential to reduce the number of cancer deaths among women living with HIV and improve their overall health. Given that women living with HIV are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, it makes sense. It's a logical and critical part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support services.

What doesn't make sense is that planning a family and preventing further HIV transmission is not part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support. HIV was responsible for 60,000 maternal deaths in 2008, and pregnancy alone could put women at higher risk of transmitting and acquiring HIV. Integrating and linking voluntary family planning, HIV, and cervical cancer prevention saves lives, improves access to quality care and promotes human rights. Including family planning in Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon would help women manage childbearing and protect themselves and their partners from infection or re-infection (think female condoms) and should be automatic.

UNAIDS has stated as much. "We must take AIDS out of isolation and provide young girls with opportunities to negotiate their sexual relationships and receive sexuality education so that they can protect themselves from infection," said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé at this year's Commission on the Status of Women. "If we don't do this, our vision of zero new infections will remain a dream."

Read the rest.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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