Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine

: 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 56--57

Addressing the ever neglected sexual and reproductive health needs of women living with HIV

Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Thiruporur Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Addressing the ever neglected sexual and reproductive health needs of women living with HIV.J Curr Res Sci Med 2016;2:56-57

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Addressing the ever neglected sexual and reproductive health needs of women living with HIV. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Feb 8 ];2:56-57
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Full Text

Dear Sir,

Over more than three decades, HIV continues to create havoc in the lives of millions of people across the world and has remained as a key factor to encourage violation of human rights. [1] In fact, close to 307 million people on a global scale are estimated to live with HIV, and there is a serious question mark on the quality of life they lead or the social issues which they are exposed to in day-to-day life. [1] Even though the availability of an effective antiretroviral treatment, expansion of a preventive package of services, and intensive measures to address the social issues of stigma/discrimination have given a ray of hope to the infected people, the same cannot be universally extended to women/girls living with HIV. [2]

A wide range of attributes makes women and girls extremely vulnerable to acquire HIV infection, namely biological, sociocultural practices (viz., existing inequality between men and women within sexual relationships/marriage) and economic reasons. [3] Further, it will not be wrong to say that the association between HIV and gender inequality is bidirectional, with HIV being determined by gender inequality; however, at the same time, it makes women extremely vulnerable to the consequences of HIV infection. [3],[4],[5] In addition, in most of the society, women are only accused of bringing infection into the family, and objections are raised on their fidelity status and are even targeted for being immoral or crossing sexual norms. [3],[4]

All the above factors clearly explain that the women living with HIV have to deal with a complex nature of challenges, and there is a significant need to respond to the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) concerns and violation of human rights in a comprehensive manner to eventually ensure their dignity, health, and wellbeing. [2],[3] Although every individual has an equal right with regard to their SRH, it is an extremely important facet for women living with HIV/AIDS due to the involvement of various sociocultural elements and limited access to routine prevention, treatment, care, and support services. [3] Further, owing to the lack of integration of human rights in the health programs and sheer neglect toward the human rights of women in different areas, it remains a big challenge to meet the SRH needs of women. [4],[5]

A multisectoral approach addressing the SRH needs and human rights is the need of the hour to improve the uptake of existing measures by neutralizing stigma/discrimination and eventually move forward toward universal access to the services. [3] Interventions such as extending clinical care through trained doctors, performing appropriate laboratory tests for the diagnosis of the infection, exercising outreach activities to perform contact tracing or partner treatment, providing counseling services through sensitized counselors, responding to the family welfare needs through the constant supply of contraceptive methods, offering supportive services to assist the infected women to deal with the consequences of the disease, and above all assisting all the above measures through sustained political commitment can aid to a great extent. [2],[3],[4] However, not much can be improved unless the existing gaps are identified and based on the evidence, corrective strategies are formulated. [2],[3],[4] In addition, involvement of women living with HIV right from the planning stage can deliver much better outcomes to address the varied SRH needs. [3],[5]

To conclude, although it is a fundamental right for women living with HIV to have safe and satisfying sexual lives, a lot needs to be done toward strengthening of the primary health care and improvement in the mindset of the general population to ensure optimal SRH of the women.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1World Health Organization. HIV/AIDS - Fact Sheet No. 360; 2015. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 26].
2Nedjat S, Moazen B, Rezaei F, Hajizadeh S, Majdzadeh R, Setayesh HR, et al. Sexual and reproductive health needs of HIV-positive people in Tehran, Iran: A mixed-method descriptive study. Int J Health Policy Manag 2015;4:591-8.
3World Health Organization. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights of Women Living with HIV; 2015. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2015 Dec 04].
4Folayan MO, Harrison A, Odetoyinbo M, Brown B. Tackling the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents living with HIV/AIDS: A priority need in Nigeria. Afr J Reprod Health 2014;18:102-8.
5Edouard L, Bernstein S. Sexual and reproductive health at 2015 and beyond: A global perspective. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2015;37:872-9.