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Family Planning: Keep in Mind People Living With HIV

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Family Planning: Keep in Mind People Living With HIV

Picture of James  Kityo

Ahead of the third International Conference on Family Planning to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from Nov. 12–15, 2013, people living with HIV in Luwero Uganda have called for major interventions on family planning to plan while incorporating the concerns of persons living with HIV.

The conference, which will be attended by world leaders including Joyce Banda, Yingluck Shinawatra and Melinda Gates, will urge for “Full access and full choice.” The November meeting in Ethiopia will also call attention to wide-ranging benefits of family planning and highlight efforts to provide everyone with voluntary contraceptive information and services.

In Luwero, Uganda, the community based PMTCT programme supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance with funds from ViiV HealthCare’s Positive Action for Children Fund is also aimed at implementing family planning component by increasing family planning access for women living with HIV. This programme is designed to increase rates of enrolment and retention in PMTCT care in limited resource settings to reduce the number of babies who become HIV positive through birth.

A member of PHA group in Luwero, Kampi says that, all proponents of family planning in this era must take note of challenges of family planning for persons living with HIV.

“People who are living with HIV are still entitled to their reproductive rights," Kampi says. "They need to have children and make choices on how they should have them. So for us, when we are working with women we inform them that have enrolled for the PMTCT project, to take note of the available family planning options in health facilities.”

“We need the district and our leaders at the local government to ensure that the family planning commodities can reach us in the rural parts of the country. For example a woman may need an injection (InjectaPlan), but she does not have transport to go to the health facility to have it administered.”

Kampi also notes that the young people have their own challenges:

“The condoms also help for HIV prevention and family planning but we do not have sufficient and constant supply of condoms. We need to give condoms to the young people to prevent early pregnancy.”

Zziwa Abdalla of Nyimbwa PHA says that, “The greatest benefit of the PMTCT project in relation to family planning is that we  are using this opportunity to tell women about family planning in addition to responding to PMTCT requirements. We are also putting an emphasis on the number of children that need to be produced for persons living with HIV, because we are aware that such children need enough food and better nutrition. Our major strength for this project has been the integration of family planning into the HIV/AIDS response, and for this we are very grateful to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the ViiV HealthCare funding.”

A paper developed by the UK Consortium on AIDS and other partners proposes a right based approach, full access, investment, security and equity in addressing family planning for all women including those who are HIV positive. It states that,

“Women and men, including those living with HIV and AIDS, need access to a comprehensive range of affordable and quality information, services and supplies that will empower them to make informed reproductive health choices. Choices that will protect their right to health and prevent infection of HIV and other STIs, to have the number of children they desire at the timing of their choice, as well as access safe abortion services if needed.

In the developing world, 222 million women who don’t want to get pregnant lack access to life saving contraceptives, information and services.

Friday, October 18, 2013