HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects women and girls due to their low socio economic status and lesser agency on their sexuality and reproductive health. It is also a leading cause of death for women in reproductive age (WHO). The sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV/AIDS is essential for her to lead a life of equality and is also critical to the well-being of their partners and children. A HIV positive women’s maternal health becomes even fragile as she become more prone to infections like malaria and tuberculosis.
For a HIV positive person the access to the health care and the system becomes even rugged. The health system is as it is unprepared to effectively provide treatment for HIV and has many gaps. Even above that the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV is a major roadblock in the access to health care. There have been numerous cases where a pregnant woman died due to denial of treatment because of their HIV status by both a public or private hospital. Such violations have even been recognised by the courts as the violation of their right to life and health.
Their status is made even vulnerable with the lack of access to contraceptives and proper counselling. There is also a rampant lack of HIV Testing Centres.The chances that a HIV positive person themselves approach the healthcare system are bleak. Still, post pregnancy there is no follow up with the woman and she falls out of the system. This even puts the new born at the risk.
A human rights based approach is essential in fighting the infection. The people at the implementing end as well the law needs to recognise the rights of an HIV positive person. Rather a HIV positive woman’s sexuality is more than often, suppressed. HIV positive people too have their sexual and reproductive rights, which the states are obliged to protect and uphold. The state is responsible for creating an environment where a positive person enjoys their right to dignity and equality.
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