This handout discusses reproductive health issues facing women living with HIV around the world. It argues that human rights and public health require women have control over their reproductive decisions and access to voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), antiretroviral therapy, and comprehensive reproductive health care, including contraception, diagnosis and treatment of infections, safe, legal abortions, and post-abortion care. It discusses various issues involved in testing of pregnant women, including the treatment of HIV-positive pregnant woman as “vectors of transmission” to fetuses rather than individuals with the right to appropriate health care and the ability to make health care decisions. The handout describes the stigma and discrimination HIV-positive women face in attempting to access prenatal care, contraception, and abortion services. It also discusses health concerns specific to HIV-positive women that they must be informed of as part of appropriate medical care, such as the interaction of antiretroviral drugs with hormonal contraception. The handout is authored by Ipas, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting women’s health and reproductive rights.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.