Clients seeking HIV services and those seeking reproductive health services share many common needs and concerns. Integrating these services leads to greater efficiency.
Offering contraceptive methods and services with other healthcare services increases a client’s ability to manage their own sexual and reproductive health. It also leads to greater efficiency through:
- Cost savings and reduced duplication of efforts.
- Improved health outcomes due to greater access to and uptake of services.
- Satisfied clients.
- Increased equity for people who may have been less likely to access these services in the past.
Integration of reproductive health and HIV services can also reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission and improve health outcomes among HIV-positive women through the prevention of unintended pregnancies and regular contact with the healthcare system. Integration can also reduce stigma associated with HIV services, which could lead to improved rates of attendance at HIV testing and counseling, and treatment and care services over time.
We encourage HIV and contraception integration through our existing HIV and contraception programs. In high HIV burden countries across Africa, our programs are moving to integrate contraceptive services into HIV testing and counseling sites. In other countries – such as Cambodia, Madagascar, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Malawi and Mali – contraceptive service providers are trained to provide HIV testing and counseling and linkages to HIV treatment and care.
Making a Difference
Lovemore and Fungai are not like most couples. When these single parents got engaged, getting tested for HIV was at the top of their wedding plans.
Unfortunately, one of them was diagnosed with HIV. They were devastated, but they are learning to lead a full life together, navigating the usual worries of newlyweds, like planning their family, but also learning how to prevent HIV transmission. Watch their story here.