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Global Consultation on Sexual and Reproductive Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS

The first global consultation led by people living with HIV to address
their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights took place in
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 5-7 December 2007. The international group of 65
HIV-positive women, men, young people, and transgender people articulated a vision statement to guide advocacy, policy, legal, programmatic and funding
priorities that respect SRH and rights, and that underscores the need
for health systems to do the same.

Opening the consultation, Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS,
stated “The discussion of sexual and reproductive health rights is often not
a priority for development work yet serious violations of the sexual and
reproductive health rights of people living with HIV mean that it is a
subject that deserves serious input and discussion.”

Efforts to improve the SRH and rights of HIV-positive people have been
largely led by public health experts and ignored by policy makers, and
little progress has been made to date.

“Under the GIPA principle – greater involvement of people living with
HIV –HIV policy and program development must include our voices. Our vision
statement describes what we mean by sexual and reproductive health and
rights and how we think people living with HIV should be further
involved in developing policies and programmes and taking responsibility for our
own bodies and lives,” said Deloris Dockrey, chair of GNP+.

Currently, the stigma and discrimination facing people living with HIV
is compounded by SRH and HIV policies, programmes and services that ignore
their basic needs and wishes. Inequitable gender relations also
increase the vulnerability of HIV-positive women and adolescent girls to a range of SRH concerns. As increased access to antiretroviral therapy enables HIV to be treated as a chronic disease, quality of life improvements for people
living with HIV—including their sexual and reproductive health— must be a
priority focus of the HIV response. This includes fostering a satisfying sexual
life by meeting SRH needs that protect sexual health as well as allow people
living with HIV to plan their families and/or prevent unwanted
pregnancies.

The landmark consultation, organized by the Global Network of People
Living with HIV (GNP+), the International Community of Women Living with HIV
(ICW)and YoungPositives with support from EngenderHealth, IPPF, UNAIDS,
UNFPA and WHO, will be followed by LIVING 2008: The Positive Leadership Summit
for people living with HIV, on 31 July and 1 August in Mexico City.
Continued collaboration between the networks and supportive organizations will
lead to a comprehensive advocacy, policy and programmatic guidance package for
international, regional, and national stakeholders.

You can download the Amsterdam Statement here.

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