WGNRR and ICW Statement for the World AIDS Day 2013: Recognise the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls living with HIV!

This December 1, World AIDS Day, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW Global) its members, partners and allies  to join the global demand for the recognition of the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls living with HIV.

On 25 September 2013, the President of the UN General Assembly hosted a special event on the MDG’s to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In the outcome document adopted by Member States, world leaders renewed their commitment to meet the MDG’s targets and agreed to hold a high-level Summit in September 2015 to adopt a new set of Goals. The outline document particularly strong in its inclusions related to HIV, renewed commitments to combating HIV and AIDS and providing universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

However, the outcome document has no mention of SRHR. We believe that the recognition, protection and promotion of SRHR is vital in achieving the global targets to eradicate poverty and equality. We reiterate that by neglecting and denying SRHR of women including women and girls living with HIV tantamount to violating their individual human rights and freedoms.  We further believe that the renewed commitments towards achieving Getting to Zero[1], Zero Discrimination, Zero Infection and Zero AIDS-related deaths, will not be realised without women and girls.

As outlined in the ICPD Platform of Action, reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have a capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how to do so (ICPD, para. 7.2) The full state of reproductive health is achieved by being able to exercise one’s reproductive rights which embrace human rights such as freedom to information, freedom to bodily integrity, freedom to life without violence and others, which are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents.

WGNRR and ICW Global calls its members, allies and partners to demand during on December 1, World AIDS Day the inclusion of SRHR of women and girls living with HIV in the post 2014-2015 development agenda. The global commitment towards  “Get to Zero” will only be realised when the women and girls living with HIV are visible, recognised and not treated as criminals and second-class citizens.

 We call on the governments to take the following actions:

 1. Promote sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls living with HIV, the exercise of which enables the attainment of the whole range of other rights.

2. Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services including full range of contraceptive services, specifically making women-centric contraceptive services such as female condoms, emergency contraception, cervical caps and the like, as well as access to safe, humane and affordable abortion services.

3. Ensure access to comprehensive sexuality education which is gender sensitive and life-skills based in a manner consistent with evolving capacity of adolescents and young people.

4. Development of policies explicitly inclusive of the full diversity of women, including those living with HIV, transgender women, sex workers, women who use drugs, migrants among others.

5. Eliminate criminalisation of HIV transmission as a means to protect public health. Criminalisation deters people from accessing voluntary testing and counseling, undermines the human rights of people living with HIV and leads to increased stigma and discrimination.

6. Stop the forced and coerced sterilization and abortions of women living with HIV as this is a grave human rigths violation.

7. Prioritize the issue of safe and legal abortion in compliance with prior international commitments such as CEDAW, ICESCR, ICPD PoA, Maputo Protocol and international human rights treaties.






Getting to Zero. 2011–2015 Strategy. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)