Abstract

HIV and AIDS have a myriad of effects on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and sexual and reproductive health services are critical for women and men with HIV and AIDS. Yet there has been a dearth of visible, in-depth mainstream attention to the links between sexual and reproductive health and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS since the early 1990s among major stakeholders internationally. This paper argues that access to essential sexual and reproductive health care should be provided in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programmes, and appropriate forms of prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS should be included in all sexual and reproductive health services as a public health priority, particularly in sex education, family planning and abortion services, pregnancy-related care, sexually transmitted infection (STI) services and services addressing sexual violence. The paper analyzes existing barriers to linking and integrating these services, e.g. at country level due to the traditional training of health workers to implement vertical programmes, separate sources of funding for National AIDS Control Programmes and sexual and reproductive health services, and in international donor programme and UN agency structures. This paper calls for leadership to be exercised by donors, all the UN agencies working together, governments, health service managers and providers, NGOs and advocates in both fields to develop and implement these linkages at country level. Finally, it is crucial that UNAIDS, WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and those working to reach the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals come on board in these efforts.