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Historical evolution

Since 2004 there have been considerable efforts to create policy consensus on the need to better link SRHR and HIV. This understanding was first articulated in 2004 in the 2004 New York Call to Action and the Glion Call to Action on Family Planning and HIV/AIDS in Women and Children.

These calls were echoed by the adoption of the Maputo Plan of Action by the African Union.

In September 2006, the African Union agreed to implement the ‘Maputo Plan of Action’, calling on countries to ‘strengthen commitment to achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, and recognise and support the contribution of these services to HIV prevention efforts’.

Fifty-two African States re-committed themselves to the goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and to linking SRHR and HIV services. This commitment was reaffirmed by Member States who renewed their support to the Maputo Plan of Action at the July 2010 AU Summit in Kampala and extended it for five more years.

In 2010, the South African Development Community recognised strengthening the linkages between SRHR and HIV as the key to achieving its target of a 50 % reduction in new HIV infections by 2015. Linkages with SRHR feature in the UNAIDS outcome framework.

In the context of the European Union, the strong consensus on the need to link HIV and SRHR better has been expressed in many statements, most recently in the Council Conclusions of May 2010 ‘strongly reaffirming the linkage between HIV/AIDS policies and programmes and sexual and reproductive health and rights policies and services’.

Massive worldwide momentum and enthusiasm is being generated in support of the goal of virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission by 2015. This momentum provides a great opportunity and stimulus for more comprehensive and effective strategies to prevent mother-to-child transmission and full recognition of the need to strengthen and link SRHR and HIV policies, programmes and services as an essential part of these efforts. In particular, it provides a chance to strengthen two of the four critical pillars for preventing mother-to-child transmission: primary prevention of HIV among women of reproductive age combined with preventing unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV.