Critical Issues for Women and HIV: Health Policy and the Development of National AIDS Strategy, Ford Foundation's Women and HIV Working Group (2009)

Letters and Other Advocacy Documents

This set of recommendations to the Obama Administration and its Office of National AIDS Policy is the product of a convening of Ford Foundation grantees, consisting of women with HIV and their allies, who have HIV advocacy initiatives targeting the needs of women. The policy directives, developed to inform the broader health care reform effort undertaken by the administration, focus on the need to reduce stigma, to address human rights, and to improve HIV prevention, care and treatment services for women. The group identified protection of civil and human rights, the need for integration of reproductive and HIV health services, and respect for women's autonomy and decision-making abilities in testing and treatment decisions among the central concerns for women with HIV. The group's overarching priorities were (1) recognition of the correlation between fulfillment of human rights obligation and improvements in health care and outcomes for women; (2) integration of health care and sexual/reproductive health services that ensure that women receive consistent, high-quality services; (3) elimination of government-reinforced stigma and discrimination against people with HIV; (4) elimination of health disparities based on gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and class/economic status as a central part of health care reform; and (5) meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in all aspects of decision-making on policies affecting their communities. The group also endorsed the importance of counseling and documented consent in HIV testing, demonstrating yet again that there continues to be broad support for patient-centered, informed decision-making in HIV care among those typically excluded from most state and national AIDS policy development.

In addition to the Center for HIV Law and Policy, drafters and contributors to this set of recommendations included African Services Committee, AIDS Alabama, Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina, CHAMP, Center for Health and Gender Equity, HIV Law Project, International Community of Women Living with HIV, National AIDS Fund, National Women and AIDS Collective, Sisterlove, Inc., U.S. Positive Women's Network, Women's Collective, and Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease.