Integrating the Fields of Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS
Joan Kaufman, Harvard University and Brandeis University
Lisa Messersmith, Harvard University
The global AIDS epidemic continues to expand. In Africa, the impact of AIDS deaths is affecting development and will be felt for generations. Women and girls are now disproportionately affected. The HIV/AIDS field and the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) field must better coordinate efforts to prevent sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS, apply gender perspectives to HIV/AIDS programs, and provide sexual and reproductive health services to HIV-positive couples. We review major activities undertaken to link the fields, highlight “values” each field brings to collaboration, and point out gaps in the AIDS response insufficiently addressed by either field. Actions must ensure rights protection, understanding of the range of sexual behaviors that drive the epidemic, and appreciation for weakened health systems that deliver services to the world’s poor. We offer specific recommendations to address identified gaps and to foster better synergy and effectiveness in a linked HIV and SRH response.