A version of this post originally appeared on The Huffington Post. Reposted with permission.
An AIDS-free generation. Eliminating pediatric HIV infections and keeping mothers alive. Providing 120 million more women with more convenient choices of effective contraceptives to avoid unintended pregnancies.
At this week’s International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), we are examining the latest evidence on integrating family planning and HIV service delivery. It shows that stronger linkages between family planning and HIV programs are critical to helping us realize these ambitious goals for global health.
A small but growing number of HIV prevention, care and treatment programs offer women a range of contraceptives, along with counseling about family planning and safe pregnancy. The aim of these programs is to save lives by supporting the fertility choices of women living with HIV.
For women with HIV who want to have children, preconception planning, good prenatal care and emergency obstetric care are crucial to ensure safe pregnancies and healthy outcomes. Closely spaced pregnancies are more likely to lead to adverse outcomes — such as low birth weight, premature birth, infant death and maternal death — and HIV infection compounds that risk. Compared to HIV-negative women, women living with HIV are almost twice as likely to die in childbirth.