XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Women with HIV and feminists responding sexual and reproductive rights and HIV prevention among women in eight Latin American countries

E. Lopez Uribe1, T. Kendall2

1Balance. Promoción para el Desarrollo y Juventud., Mexico, Mexico, 2University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada

Background: Sexual and reproductive rights have been a cornerstone of the feminist agenda in Latin America, with particular focus on legal abortion. Perinatal HIV prevention, the right to choose the number and spacing of children, access to family planning and HIV prevention technologies are also key issues for networks of women with HIV throughout the region. This study provides a situation analysis of collaborations between feminists and women with HIV in eight Latin American countries.
Methodology: In-depth interviews with government representatives and civil society including national focal points for the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) and feminists active in women's health (n=48) explored access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV prevention for women, and the extent and types of collaboration between feminists and positive women.
Findings: Despite recognizing areas of common concern, effective collaboration between women with HIV and feminists is lacking. Women with HIV feel feminists need to use language that responds to the daily realities of women with HIV and reach out to other women's movements and their struggles. Feminists admitted that they have not specifically addressed the sexual and reproductive rights of women with HIV, in part because of the association of the regional HIV epidemic with social mobilization by gay men. This research identified lesbian women active in both movements as key promoters of collaboration.
Conclusion: Promoting reflexive and constructive dialogue between women with HIV and feminist in Latin America is crucial for implementing articulated actions to respond to the increasing number of HIV cases among women in the region and to reduce the barriers faced by women with HIV seeking comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.

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