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The Astonishing Neglect of an HIV Prevention Strategy: The Value of Integrating Family Planning and HIV Services

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In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions (UNGASS) set a target of reducing HIV-positive births by 50 percent by the year 2010. The goal was to be achieved with the implementation of a four-part strategy to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV:

  • Prevent primary HIV infections in women
  • Prevent unintended pregnancies in HIV-positive women
  • Prevent mother-to-child transmission with antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis
  • Provide care, treatment, and support for HIV-infected women, their infants, and their families

However, it is unlikely that this goal will be reached. At least part of the reason is that the implementation of these four strategies has not been fully realized. The majority of the resources for PMTCT have been directed toward the provision of ARVs—such as the nevirapine regimen for HIV-positive pregnant women and their newborns. In contrast, preventing unintended pregnancies among HIV-positive women—by increasing the voluntary use of contraception—has been undervalued and little-used. JSI/AIDSSTAR-One. 2010.

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