XIX International AIDS Conference
22-27 JULY 2012
UNFPA: New Guidance to Save Lives
Saving Lives by Preventing Unintended Pregnancies and HIV during Pregnancy
22 JULY 2012 | WASHINGTON D.C. -Bold new commitments have been made to deliver on the promise to end child and maternal death and improve health. The Preventing HIV and Unintended Pregnancies Strategic Framework supports one such commitment – to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keep their mothers alive.
This guidance framework, released during the XIX International AIDS Conference, spotlights two neglected strategies: preventing HIV in pregnant women and preventing unintended pregnancies. Without these strategies, the targets of eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV and reducing HIV-related maternal death will remain elusive.
- • Pregnancy itself may pose an increased risk for HIV for physiological and behavioural reasons. Becoming HIV positive during pregnancy has been documented, and underscores the need for enhanced HIV prevention efforts for pregnant women and the need for repeat HIV testing. HIV contributes significantly to maternal death and halving it is one of the new global HIV targets.
- • Rights-based family planning has a major impact on lives – empowering women, contributing to fewer new HIV infections in children, and reducing maternal deaths and ill-health. Voluntary family planning could avert 32 per cent of all maternal deaths and nearly 10 per cent of childhood deaths. Meeting unmet need for family planning in HIV high-burden countries would result in six million fewer unintended births and 61,000 fewer children with HIV in the year 2015 alone. Expanding family planning services could prevent 163,000 infants worldwide from acquiring HIV by 2015, reducing costs by $200 million.
- • The 2012 report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law underscores the need to develop, implement, and monitor policies that address the rights and sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV. Despite advances in addressing HIV-related stigma, many women living with HIV are still experiencing forced sterilization and abortion, and a violation of their rights to have children.