ICW is a large, diverse and rapidly growing organization. For resources on current developments within the organization, job and volunteering opportunities and how to help in your community, check back here often for informative and useful articles and updates.
Calling on Women Living with HIV to Get Informed, Take Action – End Malaria for Good!
World Malaria Day 2016; – April 25th, 2016
Malaria co-infection causes 2 million deaths of people living with HIV per year.1
Updated research on the intersection of women living with HIV co-infected with Malaria is severely lacking,2 however, we know that women living with HIV with Malaria co-infection are at increased risk of treatment failure of anti-malarial drugs which can have deadly consequences.3 Additionally, Malaria has been reported to temporarily increase, HIV viral load and can lead to compromised immunity, giving rise to a host of other health challenges.4
Women living with HIV who are pregnant, in particular, have an increased risk of developing severe malaria with complications, and have an increased risk of adverse outcomes.567 Additionally Pregnant women living with HIV and malaria co-infection are more likely to experience anaemia, symptomatic malaria infections, placental malaria infection, and low birth weight.
On this World Malaria Day the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) seeks to raise awareness about the deadly consequences of HIV and Malaria co-infection for all women of reproductive age and support women living with HIV to protect themselves and their families, and issue a call to action to governments and policy makers in health to respond to Malaria and HIV co-infection.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
Malaria is preventable and curable and women living with HIV can protect themselves and their children against this potentially deadly disease. Women living with HIV can also sensitize and educate our sisters on the importance of preventive measures against malaria!
Insecticide-treated mosquito nets & Indoor spraying with residual insecticides: Preventing mosquito bites is the best strategy to prevent Malaria.
Anti-malarial drugs: If you know you will be exposed to Malaria talk with your Doctor or health care provider about whether an anti-malarial preventative drug is advisable.
Early diagnosis and treatment: Malaria does not always have symptoms but if you have fever, headache, chills and vomiting get tested for Malaria.
As the world comes together to commemorate World Malaria Day, ICW calls on policy makers and governments to engage women living with HIV in efforts to ‘End Malaria for good’ and to ensure healthy maternal and child health outcomes for women living with HIV and their children.
ICW’s Call to Action on Women living with HIV & Malaria:
Ensure that women living with HIV are prioritized in responses to prevent and treat Malaria.
Governments and the global HIV response must invest in:
studies that address malaria prevention in women living with HIV;
research on the often dangerous interactions between antimalarial and antiretroviral drugs;
Prioritize integration of malaria programs with ante-natal care, particularly within Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programs;
Strengthen comprehensive antenatal care services to decrease malaria in pregnancy outcomes and improve maternal and newborn outcomes;
We call for programs that focus on enhanced malaria prevention during pregnancy to decrease the risk of adverse birth outcomes and transmission of HIV from mother to child;
Meaningful engagement of communities and particularly networks of women living with HIV must be scaled-up to include community sensitization and mobilization around Malaria prevention and understanding the impacts of Malaria co-infection on women living with HIV who are pregnant.
Abortion, Equality, General, Maternal Health, Rights, Women
Released date: 11-Apr-2016
Ensure All Women Living with HIV Have Access to Rights-Based Maternal Health!
International Day for Maternal Health and Rights 2016 – April 11th, 2016
Maternal health is critical to achieving an end to AIDS by 2030, and to realizing all Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health.
Maternal death: While maternal mortality has fallen by 44% since 1990,1 pregnancy continues to carry a high risk of death worldwide, especially for women living with HIV.
Globally, 800 women die every day due to largely preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth – which amounted to an estimated 289,000 maternal deaths in 2010.2
HIV and AIDS caused an estimated 56,100 maternal deaths globally in 2011,3 and almost 1 in 10 maternal deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa resulted from HIV-related causes.4
Low access to maternal health services, Including lack of skilled birth attendants: Studies have revealed low utilization by women living with HIV of critical maternal health services, including voluntary or routine HIV counselling and testing, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, appropriate contraceptives, antenatal care (ANC), and post natal care (PNC).
This lack of utilization is largely driven by violations of women’s rights both during pregnancy and during the breastfeeding period. Additionally, women living with HIV and AIDS lack skilled attendants at birth, who can greatly reduce the risk of maternal and new born mortality.5
Women living with HIV may be more affected by certain reproductive health-related complications, including miscarriage, post-partum haemorrhage, puerperal sepsis, and complications from caesarean section deliveries.6
While mothers should have a choice about their birthing strategy, home-based births must also be coupled with strategies that remove community barriers to accessing emergency obstetric care, including birth attendants’ recognition of danger signs and effective referral mechanisms.7
Abortion: Globally, women living with HIV often lack access to safe abortion. Every year, worldwide, about 42 million women with unintended pregnancies choose abortion, and nearly half of these procedures, 20 million, are unsafe.8
Inadequate and inaccurate information: Many women living with HIV lack accurate and up-to-date information on reproductive health, including family planning methods, abortion, sterilization, STIs, free and informed consent requirements, and PMTCT.9
Unmet need for contraception: Women and girls living with HIV experience unmet need for contraception; globally, 225 million women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy have an unmet need for contraception.10
Stigma and discrimination: Women living with HIV encounter multiple barriers when trying to access services at health centres. These include stigma and discrimination from their families, their communities, and health workers.11
ICW calls upon all the stakeholders at all levels to recognize the need to eradicate barriers for improving maternal health among women and girls living with HIV.
Women and girls living with HIV must be provided with accurate and comprehensive information on all aspects of maternal health and rights;
Stakeholders must develop and promote programs and policies that combat stigma, discrimination, and abuse women living with HIV face in healthcare settings;
Stakeholders must develop programs and services that promote comprehensive, holistic care strategies that address barriers to accessing early antenatal care and include psychosocial support for women living with HIV; and ensure meaningful involvement of women living with HIV in the design, implementation, and evaluation of these programs and services;
Stakeholders must increase research on drivers of positive maternal health outcomes for women living with HIV; in particular, research to identify causes of higher maternal mortality among women living with HIV and to develop evidence-based responses to maternal health disparities for women living with HIV;
Access to treatment, care, and support and PVT services must be increased, and women living with HIV must be empowered to make voluntary, fully informed, autonomous decisions about whether and when to be treated;
All branches of government must be involved in the response to maternal mortality, HIV and gender-based discrimination.
ICW calls upon women to demand accountability from their governments for maternal health care, and to advocate for increased access to health information and services.