Summit on Family Planning stresses on linkages with HIV services

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Summit on Family Planning stresses on linkages with HIV services

13 July 2012

Family planning can be a key contributor to reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies among women living with HIV.
Credit: UNAIDS/A.Gutman

Putting the spotlight back on family planning, the UK Government along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation organised a summit in London to support the right of women and girls to decide, freely and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they have.

In partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), national governments, donors, civil society, the private sector, the research and development community, and others from across the world, the London Summit on Family Planning called for global political commitments and resources that will enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020. Reaching this goal could result in over 200 000 fewer women and girls dying in pregnancy and childbirth and nearly 3 million fewer infants dying in their first year of life.

The event explored the linkages between family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights, including HIV, violence against women, and abortion-related mortality. It also invited delegates to raise the bar for women and girls by linking family planning with HIV programs. HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.

Speaking at a special HIV-focussed session at the conference, Ms Anna Zakowicz from GNP+ talked about how accessing family planning was the number one barrier for women living with HIV. The South African Minister of Health, Mr Aaron Motsoaledi, discussed opportunities to strengthen integration with programmes that prevent HIV transmission from mother to child.

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme, Dr Paul De Lay, emphasised the opportunities that lie ahead for transformative change, and how integrating family planning, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and HIV can contribute to achieving women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Whether at national or global levels, the AIDS movement’s prime commitment is saving lives and promoting the dignity and rights of all people

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme, Dr Paul De Lay

"UNAIDS is committed to integrated, evidence-informed programming with a focus on results,” said Dr De Lay. “Whether at national or global levels, the AIDS movement’s prime commitment is saving lives and promoting the dignity and rights of all people,” he added.

The Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive convened by UNAIDS and PEPFAR aims to ensure, among other things that HIV, maternal health, newborn and child health, and family planning programmes work together, deliver quality results and lead to improved health outcomes.

The Global Plan contributes directly towards achieving the fifth Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal health by preventing HIV among women and providing family planning for women living with HIV of childbearing age. Family planning can be a key contributor to reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies among women living with HIV. Linkages with HIV services should therefore be a priority.