New WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women with HIV
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its Consolidated guideline on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV. The guideline, which is based on the concepts of human rights and gender equality, takes a woman-centered approach by adopting the perspectives of women living with HIV, along with their families and communities, to develop practices that respond to their health care needs, rights, and preferences.
In 2015, women made up an estimated 51% of all adults 15 and older living with HIV, yet these approximately 17.8 million girls and women face inequalities when it comes to accessing health services and treatment. Gender inequality both drives the HIV epidemic among women and perpetuates it; girls and women with HIV also face additional stigma, shame, abuse, and violence.
The new guidelines are founded on the principles of human rights and gender equality. “When human rights are safeguarded, and gender inequalities are addressed, interventions to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV can then, and only then, effectively meet their needs,” says Ian Askew, Director of WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research.