Researchers found that integration can improve service delivery and increase the number of people receiving HIV counselling and testing. For clients, integrated services save them time and money, allow them to develop trusting relationships with their providers, and give them the opportunity to meet other clients living with HIV. IPPF's Director General, Tewodros Melesse, said, "We know that there is a clear and obvious link between sexual and reproductive health and HIV so providing [sexual, reproductive,] and HIV services in the same place and at the same time makes good sense." While the results are promising, more investment in research is needed.
These results are in line with a key goal of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to expand service integration--although the program is not currently meeting this goal. In Ms. Magazine's Summer 2013 issue, Jeanne Clark writes in "Unholy Alliance" about how PEPFAR-funded abstinence-only programs and conservative religious organizations affect prevention efforts.
Clark writes, "Even though current PEPFAR guidance has shifted to support comprehensive reproductive and sexual-health programs, the abstinence programs still have a lingering effect, leading some providers to de-emphasize condom education and other comprehensive prevention strategies. On Dec. 1, 2009, PEPFAR released its five-year strategy, which indicated that a key goal is to expand integration of HIV prevention, care, support and treatment services with family planning and other reproductive-health services. Yet the Fiscal Year 2013 Country Operational Plan Guidance states in no uncertain terms that 'PEPFAR funds may not be used to purchase family-planning commodities.' That means that women cannot get contraceptives at the same site where they receive HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, treatment and care."
Media Resources: International Planned Parenthood Federation 8/11/2013; Ms. Magazine Summer 2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .