Conference 2011: HIV, Sexuality and youth. Linking HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights
A young girl might want to prevent a pregnancy and protect herself from HIV. A woman living with HIV might be pregnant and at risk of dying during childbirth, she may have HIV and can't get contraception, and her child may die of HIV or malaria. Where does she get the necessary information on contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted infection, counselling, testing and treatment?
The interactions between sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV are widely recognized by international organisations such as UNAIDS, IPPF, WHO and SDC. Sexual and reproductive ill-health and HIV share root causes, including poverty, gender inequality, gender-based violence and the social marginalization of the most vulnerable populations.
Human rights are key in the linking approach, in particular the right to health and life for all. Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, and against other vulnerable and mar-ginalized groups such as young people, sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), trans-gender people, and people who use drugs prevents them from attaining basic rights and health.
At the local level, many NGOs already work in an integrated manner. Different models are used to support the integration of HIV and SRHR services and show benefits for health. However, in many countries, sexual and reproductive health and HIV programmes still run parallel.
What are the barriers to integration? Is it that different donors prioritize one area as opposed to others? Is it due to the fact that the AIDS epidemic called for an emergency response? Why were HIV departments and units not linked in any way to the corresponding sexual and repro-ductive units? Is it a question of implementation? How can comprehensive services be made youth friendly and meet the needs of youth? If HIV prevention and care are integrated into re-productive health services and family planning clinics, how will groups most at risk such as young girls and boys, MSM, sex workers etc. be reached?
Based on the experience of the partner organisations of aidsfocus.ch, and following up on dis-cussions held at a global level, the conference will discuss challenges and strategies of linking HIV and reproductive health and rights in policy and practice.
We invite all partners of aidsfocus.ch and representatives of organisations working in interna-tional cooperation, HIV and AIDS to attend, as well as of any other person interested in the dis-cussion. The conference will be held in English.
Objectives of the conference:
• To share knowledge, to learn from each other on best practice and on the challenges of linking HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights, with a special focus on youth.
• To discuss and create strategies to strengthen linkages between HIV and SRHR programs that meet the needs and fulfil the rights of young people on a large scale.
Advisory Group: Maya Natarajan (IAMANEH), Gabriele Hansch (Swiss Red Cross), Susanne Rohner (PLANeS) and Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli (WHO)
The conference is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss AIDS Federation (Aids-Hilfe Schweiz) and PLANeS.