Document Type

Article

Department

Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)

Abstract

Introduction: The right to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an essential part of the right to health and is dependent upon substantive equality, including freedom from multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that result in exclusion in both law and practice. Nonetheless, general and specific SRH needs of women living with HIV are often not adequately addressed. For example, services that women living with HIV need may not be available or may have multiple barriers, in particular stigma and discrimination. This study was conducted to review United Nations Human Rights Council, Treaty Monitoring Bodies and Special Rapporteur reports and regional and national mechanisms regarding SRH issues of women living with HIV. The objective is to assess areas of progress, as well as gaps, in relation to health and human rights considerations in the work of these normative bodies on health and human rights.

Methods: The review was done using keywords of international, regional and national jurisprudence on findings covering the 2000 to 2014 period for documents in English; searches for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and national judgments were also conducted in Spanish. Jurisprudence of UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies, regional mechanisms and national bodies was considered in this regard.

Results and discussion: In total, 236 findings were identified using the search strategy, and of these 129 were selected for review based on the inclusion criteria. The results highlight that while jurisprudence from international, regional and national bodies reflects consideration of some health and human rights issues related to women living with HIV and SRH, the approach of these bodies has been largely ad hoc and lacks a systematic integration of human rights concerns of women living with HIV in relation to SRH. Most findings relate to non-discrimination, accessibility, informed decision-making and accountability. There are critical gaps on normative standards regarding the human rights of women living with HIV in relation to SRH.

Conclusions: A systematic approach to health and human rights considerations related to women living with HIV and SRH by international, regional and national bodies is needed to advance the agenda and ensure that policies and programmes related to SRH systematically take into account the health and human rights of women living with HIV.

Publication

Journal of the International AIDS Society

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