Women Shouldn’t Have to Be Sneaky to Get the Family Planning They Want

Yes, I said it. But it’s not my word. I’m just the messenger, relating to you what I heard: sneaky. According to health care providers I interviewed recently in Western Province, Kenya, sneaking is exactly what women feel they need to do if they want to avoid or postpone pregnancy. Their male partners, for the … Continue reading “Women Shouldn’t Have to Be Sneaky to Get the Family Planning They Want”

Don’t Forget MSM

Few populations are more threatened by the global HIV epidemic than men who have sex with men (MSM). In many regions, they are up to nine times more vulnerable to HIV than the general population. This vulnerability is due, in part, to unsafe sexual behaviors, but also to the social stigmatization, marginalization, and violence that … Continue reading “Don’t Forget MSM”

At Last

It is deceptively simple: a glossy white cover with gold letters, the seal of the President, and some words on paper. This is the first time in nearly three decades that the United States, one of the leaders in HIV, has a national strategy to address the epidemic. On this day, take a moment to celebrate this profound achievement. Read the strategy. We are all reflected in it. We all have a place.

Health systems strengthening: The dichotomy between HIV and non-HIV services

The recent unprecedented investment in combating the HIV pandemic by United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have led to the debate on whether HIV programs have strengthened or undermined national health systems in developing countries. The debate was continued by health system strengthening (HSS) … Continue reading “Health systems strengthening: The dichotomy between HIV and non-HIV services”

Reaching IDUs & Sex Workers with Comprehensive HIV Workers in Central Asia

You are right, it is both clear and difficult. It is difficult because first you need funding and political will. IDUs and sex workers are rarely considered priority populations from the point of view of governments, but in concentrated HIV epidemics such as there are in Central Asia, these are exactly the populations that need to be prioritized.

Next, the populations themselves are difficult to reach. Because of stigma and discrimination, as well as the criminalization of sex work and drug use, people who engage in these activities are hidden. To reach them, we have to draw them out to drop-in centers that attract them with needed services, or find them with outreach workers who know and understand the population.