Thèmes et resources
Santé et droits sexuels et reproductifs

Living positively: Sex and childbearing after an HIV diagnosis

The Guttmacher Institute policy brief underscores sexual and reproductive health needs of people living with HIV: Despite the enormous challenge that AIDS still poses to global health, for many people able to access antiretroviral treatment, HIV infection can now be managed as a chronic disease. Against this backdrop, a new policy brief from the Guttmacher Institute, entitled “Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of People Living With HIV,” emphasizes that people living with HIV do not lose their desire to have sex and bear children, and outlines both the challenges and benefits of better meeting these needs.

“Because sex and childbearing are central to the lives of almost everyone, including those living with HIV, effective programs must take into account the sexual and reproductive health needs and aspirations of people living with HIV,” says Heather Boonstra, senior public policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, who wrote the policy brief.

Where sexual and reproductive health services tailored to the needs and circumstances of people living with HIV are in place, Boonstra notes, “not only do the lives of people with HIV stand to benefit, but global HIV prevention efforts will benefit as well.”

The policy brief was published jointly by the Guttmacher Institute and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in collaboration with EngenderHealth, the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+), the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization.

The policy brief examines a range of sexual and reproductive health needs and aspirations of people living with HIV as well factors that can limit access to such health care services, including: • weak health care systems, where staff may not have been trained about HIV and sexual and reproductive health, and where supplies are often lacking; • parallel programs separately focused on HIV services and on sexual and reproductive health services; • taboos around sex, which impede the development of policies and programs addressing the sexual health needs of all people, particularly young people; • gender inequalities, which may lead to women’s lack of individual autonomy and control over sexual experiences; and • HIV-related stigma and discrimination, including that among health care providers.

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