Sexual and reproductive health

Contraception: past, present and future and why it matters

Photo montage showing different contraceptive methods

26 September 2016: World contraception day - Over the past 25 years, considerable progress has been made in women's sexual and reproductive health, including increases in contraceptive use, spurred by international initiatives promoting access to sexual and reproductive health. Despite the positive global trends, however, there are large differences among and within countries. Over 200 million women worldwide would like to avoid a pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception. Reasons for this vary from each country but are related to a lack of supplies, cultural and political barriers and poor quality of services. A set of four videos released today look at some of the issues around contraception’s past present and future and explain why it is important.

WHO launches new treatment guidelines for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis

30 August 2016: More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide. STIs present a major burden of disease and negatively affect people’s well-being across the globe. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are three STIs which are all caused by bacteria and which can potentially be cured by antibiotics. Unfortunately, these STIs often go undiagnosed and due to antibiotic resistance, they are also becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

Counting and reviewing every birth and death is key to preventing future tragedies

Mother holds her newborn baby
WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

16 August 2016 -- Every day, women die during childbirth and babies are born stillborn. With quality health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth, many of these deaths could be prevented, but countries often lack the knowledge and capacity needed to take actions to stop other women and babies dying in the same way. To address this issue WHO is today launching two new tools to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths as well as a report on the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a key strategy for reducing preventable maternal mortality

Hormonal contraception and the risk of HIV acquisition in women

A community health worker is providing two women with counseling and family planning information.
Jonathan Torgovnik

August 9 2016: The World Health Organization will convene an expert review group later in 2016 to examine the links between the use of various hormonal contraceptive methods and women’s risk of HIV acquisition. The expert review group will assess whether current WHO guidance needs to change in the light of a new review of data, commissioned by WHO and published today in AIDS.


Sexual and reproductive health and rights at the 71st United Nations General Assembly

13-26 September 2016: UN Headquarters, New York, USA. The priority areas of work for the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research which includes HRP, are under discussion at a number of sessions throughout this year’s UN General Assembly. More information about discussions pertinent to issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights will be posted here throughout the General Assembly’s duration.

Reproductive Health Library (RHL)

RHL takes the best available evidence on sexual and reproductive health from Cochrane systematic reviews and presents it as practical actions for clinicians (and policy-makers) to improve health outcomes, especially in developing countries.

Research on sexual and reproductive health throughout the world

Partnerships and initiatives

African woman with her two children.


Research on the Zika virus outbreak in the Americas - Call for applications

Global map - South America

Call for Applications for the HRP/TDR/PAHO Joint Small Grants Programme (SGP) to approach the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in a holistic manner that encompasses epidemiology, vector control, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and health systems. Researchers and health care providers working in low- and middle-countries with ZIKA outbreaks in the Latin American and Caribbean Regions of PAHO are eligible. English, Español, Português

Women in the context of microcephaly and Zika virus disease

The risk of babies born with microcephaly has raised understandable concerns among women including those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. There are many unknowns regarding the possible causes of microcephaly.

VIDEO: Addressing violence against women: the health sector response

Search WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health

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