Human rights and the sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV – a literature review

Introduction: Even as the number of women living with HIV around the globe continues to grow, realization of their sexual and reproductive health and human rights remains compromised. The objective of this study was to review the current state of knowledge on the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women living with HIV to assess evidence and gaps.

Methods: Relevant databases were searched for peer-reviewed and grey literature. Search terms included a combination of MeSH terms and keywords representing women, HIV/AIDS, ART, human rights, sexual and reproductive health. We included both qualitative and quantitative literature published in English, French, or Spanish between July 2011 and December 2014.

Results and discussion: The search yielded 2228 peer-reviewed articles, of which 40 met the inclusion criteria in the final review. The grey literature search yielded 2186 documents of which seven met the inclusion criteria in the final review. Of the articles and documents reviewed, not a single peer-reviewed article described the explicit implementation of rights in programming, and only two documents from the grey literature did so. With one possible exception, no articles or documents were found which addressed rights comprehensively, or addressed the majority of relevant rights (i.e. equality; non-discrimination; participation; privacy and confidentiality; informed decision making; availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality (3AQ) of services individually or in their totality; and accountability). Additional findings indicate that the language of rights is used most often to describe the apparent neglect or violation of human rights and what does exist only addresses a few rights in the context of a few areas within sexual and reproductive health.

Conclusions: Findings from this review suggest the need to better integrate rights into interventions, particularly with attention to provider training, service delivery, raising awareness and capacity building among the community of women living with HIV. Further research is urgently needed to support the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV, to identify what works and to inform future programming and policies to improve care, treatment and support for women living with HIV.

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Details:

Authors: Shubha Kumar, Sofia Gruskin, Rajat Khosla, Manjulaa Narasimhan
Published By: Journal of the International AIDS Society
Date: December 1, 2015
Publication Link: http://www.jiasociety.org/index.php/jias/article/view/20290