Sexual and reproductive rights are a pivotal neglected priority in HIV/AIDS policy, programming, and resource allocation. Failure to protect girls’ and women’s rights including their right to health and their right to live free of sexual coercion and violence fuels the pandemic. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and education, and protection of sexual and reproductive rights, are essential to ending it.
It is widely acknowledged that rates of HIV infection are increasing in women of every region in the world and that these rates are often higher for girls and women than for men. Women, especially young women and girls, are vulnerable because of denial and neglect of their rights, gender inequality, social, cultural and economic factors, pervasive violence, and biology.
Girls’ and women’s empowerment must be at the centre of a multi-sectoral response to the global pandemic. Regarding sexual and reproductive rights and health in particular, we call on HIV/AIDS decision makers at all levels to:
1. Redefine “High Risk”:
Recognize that women, especially young women and girls, are at serious
risk, and that all women have the right to have access to confidential
VCT, treatment, care and support as part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive
5. Strengthen HIV/AIDS programs: Protect all women’s health and rights through HIV/AIDS programs:
The 2006 review of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS is a key opportunity for the international community to incorporate this action agenda for women and girls as we work to achieve the goal of universal access to prevention, treatment and care.
Supporting organizations:Gestos (Brazil),
Girl’s Power Initiative (Nigeria), DAWN, African Women's Development
Fund, Center for Global Women’s Leadership, Latin America and the
Caribbean Women’s Health Network LACWHN, International Community
of Women Living with AIDS (ICW), The Swedish Association for Sex Education
(RFSU), Mujer y Salud en Uruguay MYSU, Foundation for Study and Investigation
on Women FEIM (Argentina), Rutgers Nisso Groep (Netherlands), Women for
Women's Rights - New Ways (Turkey), Federation for Women and Family Planning,
(Poland), JOICP (Japan), Choice for Youth and Sexuality (Netherlands),
Thai Women & HIV/AIDS Task Force, Women in Development Europe (WIDE),
International Women’s Health Coalition.