Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Scaling up and integrating HIV with sexual and reproductive health services

A massive scale-up of comprehensive and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health and HIV services for young women and adolescent girls should be planned and rolled out, taking into consideration rapid population growth. Looking at projections for urbanization, these services need to be focused increasingly on urban areas and in particular to reach poor urban women and girls. The type of service is important. Condom programming designed to reach young people, such as through schools, can increase accessibility and confidence among those who are sexually active (48, 49). 

In addition, removing barriers such as parental and spousal consent, which further institutionalizes sexual and reproductive rights violations, is critical for scaling services and ensuring access. For young women living with HIV, access to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including screening for and treating reproductive cancers, preventing and addressing violence, and HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, has proven to be life-saving. Studies from southern Africa found that access to such services and peer support groups helped young people adhere to antiretroviral treatment (50, 51). Ensuring that young women and adolescents have access to good-quality contraceptive services and antenatal care is essential to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and new infections among children. (52, 53)

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