STOPAIDS factsheet: Women, HIV and Reproductive Choices


HIV is closely interlinked with reproductive choices. For example, HIV can be transmitted through condomless sex, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. In addition, there is now emerging evidence that using progesterone only injectable contraceptives, like Depo-Provera, may lead to an increased risk of acquiring HIV. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also increase the likelihood of HIV transmission.

More broadly, the disproportionate impact of HIV and (other) STIs on women and girls and the scale of the unmet family planning needs are fuelled by similar structural drivers, including:

  • economic inequality
  • limited access to appropriate information
  • gender inequality
  • gender-based violence
  • harmful cultural norms
  • legally disabling environments
  • the marginalisation of the most vulnerable populations

This factsheet highlights the links between HIV and women’s reproductive choices  and proposes integrated services as an effective way to meet women’s comprehensive and holistic sexual and reproductive health needs and rights throughout the life course. It includes case studies from The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, IPPF, Chasing Zero and Salamander Trust and was co- written by the Athena Network.

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