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Concerns over lack of care and support in AIDS relief plan


Summary of story from the Huffington Post, October 31, 2011

Questions have been raised at the scope of a US campaign which aims to integrate cancer education with HIV services.

Last month, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), launched the global “Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon” campaign, an initiative that combines cervical and breast cancer education, screening, and treatment with HIV services.

But Serra Sippel, president of the Centre for Health and Gender Equity, has criticised PEPFAR for not including family planning and the prevention of further HIV transmission as part of its care and support.

Writing in the Huffington Post, she says: “Integrating and linking voluntary family planning, HIV, and cervical cancer prevention saves lives, improves access to quality care and promotes human rights.

“Including family planning in Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon would help women manage childbearing and protect themselves and their partners from infection or re-infection (think female condoms) and should be automatic.”

Sippel says that given women living with HIV are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, the programme makes sense but the omission of family planning is “counter-intuitive” and counter-productive”.

She adds:  “We cannot pick and choose to address only the health issues we are comfortable addressing.

“We must develop and implement services and programs that are based on the health needs and human rights of clients, not what is politically expedient for policy makers or convenient to service providers. “

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