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Reprod Health Matters. 2007 May;15(29 Suppl):27-45.

Rights of HIV positive people to sexual and reproductive health: parenthood.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


In many areas of the globe most HIV infection is transmitted sexually or in association with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, raising the need for sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS initiatives to be mutually reinforcing. Many people with HIV, who are in good health, will want to have children, and highly active antiretroviral therapy provides women and men living with AIDS the possibility of envisaging new life projects such as parenthood, because of a return to health. However, there are still difficult choices to face concerning sexuality, parenthood desires and family life. Structural, social and cultural issues, as well as the lack of programmatic support, hinder the fulfilment of the right to quality sexual and reproductive health care and support for having a family. This paper addresses the continuum of care involved in parenthood for people living with HIV, from pregnancy to infant and child care, and provides evidence-based examples of policies and programmes that integrate sexual and reproductive health interventions with HIV/AIDS care in order to support parenthood. Focusing on parenthood for people living with and affected by HIV, that is, focusing on the couple rather than the woman as the unit of care, the individual or the set of adults who are responsible for raising children, would be an innovative programmatic advance. Going beyond maternal and child health care to providing care and support for parents and others who are responsible for raising children is especially relevant for those living with HIV infection.

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