‘Downstream’ interventions are often prioritised over ‘upstream’ structural change, but analysis of population data from Malawi challenges this emphasis.
The findings presented in this poster by Heidi Stöckl show the many overlaps between HIV and maternal and child health.
HIV-positive women are significantly more likely to report three indicators of gender inequality:
- early sexual debut
- intimate partner violence (physical and/or sexual)
- lack of secondary education
These same indicators are also associated with early pregnancy, high fertility, unplanned pregnancy and indicators of poor child health.
The many interconnections between HIV and poor maternal and child health have implications for policy, practice and the efficient use of resources. Rather than making single-outcome comparisons, discussions around Millenium Development Goal (MDG) investments, including the HIV MDG, should instead focus on the multiple benefits of gender-focused interventions.