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Gender

Sexual and reproductive health

One-fifth of global disease among women of reproductive age is associated with sexual and reproductive ill-health. Likewise HIV and AIDS indirectly accounts for many maternal deaths, and is the direct cause of death of countless individuals and their family members. Despite these linkages, resistance and limited funding, as well as lack of harmonisation between policy and programming, mean that approaches to HIV and AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) continue to be predominantly separate.

This ELDIS HIV and AIDS Resource guide provides summaries and research on the key issues in SRH as it relates to HIV and AIDS, including an overview of definitions and linkages, relevant international targets and approaches to integration.

What is the link between SRH and HIV and AIDS? A majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted or associated with pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Likewise the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increases the risk of HIV transmission by at least three to four times. Given this, many of the means used to address SRH are also able to respond to HIV prevention, treatment and care. These include information on SRH, behaviour change communication to support safer sexual behaviours, provision of condoms for dual protection against STIs/HIV and AIDS and unintended pregnancies, safer delivery practices to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and diagnosis and treatment of STIs. Additionally, HIV and AIDS and poor SRH are both driven by common root causes, including gender inequality, poverty and social marginalisation of the most vulnerable populations. All of these benefit from being approached multisectorally. (2007)

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