World AIDS Day Special Report: Empowering women by integrating HIV and family planning

migrant women in Ghana

Author

Chris Duncan
Lead, Global Brand and Digital
01 Dec 2011 | HIV / STIs
London, 1st December 2011: An integrated approach to family planning and HIV programming is essential for accelerating progress towards universal access to HIV and reproductive health services. In a new factsheet published today, World AIDS Day, we explain why it matters to us.

We are committed to tackling the high unmet need for quality family planning and the high HIV prevalence in some of the communities we work in around the world. This year, we have provided 379,748 STI/HIV services.

Much of this work offering essential STI/HIV services has been made possible thanks to the USAID funded Support for International Family Planning Organizations (SIFPO) project.

In Ghana, we have a SIFPO-funded programme working with young migrant women employed as head porters - locally known as Kayayei. These women have little or no access to education and often lack even basic shelter. Many are the victims of sexual exploitation, violence, and human trafficking.

But now we’re helping them access education so they can learn how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as having a choice of a range of family planning and reproductive healthcare, for the first time.

Our mobile outreach teams visit the Agbogbloshie, Mallam Atta and Abuja Markets in the capital, Accra, to increase HIV and STI prevention practices and improve knowledge and attitudes resulting in the adoption of safe sex practice amongst Kayayeis.

At the same time, the team is developing structures and referral systems around the Kayayei community to enable the victims of sexual and gender based violence to receive support and services.

And we’re not working alone. Marie Stopes International Ghana is working closely with the Society for Women Against Aids in Africa (SWAA) to reach the Kayayei communities. And the team is receiving support from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service to help increase access to information and services.

In Accra the Metropolitan Authority is providing space in the markets for the provision of reproductive health services by our mobile outreach team. In the event that there is a need for a safe house, we work with local organisations with experience in preventing gender based violence. And our BlueStar Healthcare Network is also helping by providing services and treatment for the Kayayeis.

By working closely with our partners on the global stage and in local communities, in the public and private sectors, we’re giving women access to education about HIV/AIDS and access to reproductive healthcare in the places where it’s needed most and are helping to strengthen the health systems that are already in place.

Download our Integrating sexual reproductive health and HIV services factsheet to learn more about the range of HIV services we offer globally, how we work with our partners, and how we’re making a real and lasting difference to the lives of women and men in the countries we work in around the world.

World AIDS Day is held on 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV. We are proud to support this important campaign.

Download our new Integrating sexual reproductive health and HIV services factsheet

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