In 2012, three years before the 2015 deadline the world set for itself to reduce preventable maternal deaths and new HIV infections, we must act more boldly than we have up until now. The global health community must work to bring family planning and HIV services together – and quickly – to save women’s lives.
This week it became clear there are things more important to the Susan G. Komen Foundation–the fundraising giant that each year during breast cancer awareness month virtually swathes the United States in pink, a la Christo–than ensuring women are able to access exams for early detection of breast cancer. In a word: Politics.
Diseases such as diabetes and cancer cause tens of millions of deaths each year, many of which are premature. Once the burden of rich countries, these non-communicable diseases are increasingly affecting individuals in low- and middle-income countries where they impose heavy burdens on already fragile health systems. Among the most deadly—and preventable—of these diseases is cervical cancer.
Senegal provides a fascinating case study in how to work simultaneously to prevent the spread of HIV and meet the family planning needs of women and families. The country’s successes also reveal why now, more than ever, U.S. investments in family planning are critical to empowering women, reducing poverty, reducing transmission of HIV and deaths from AIDS, and saving lives.
I firmly believe the requirements under the Affordable Care Act, and the slate of regulations being created to implement it, infringe on no one’s conscience, demand no one change her or his religious beliefs, discriminate against no man or woman, put no additional economic burden on the poor, interfere with no one’s medical decisions, compromise no one’s health — that is, if you consider the law without refusal clauses.
President Obama has repeatedly stressed his administration’s commitment to science as one way to distinguish his leadership from that of his predecessor. Right now that commitment is being put to the test on HIV and AIDS: if the President could do more to end the crisis, would he?
Tamika and Friends is a national organization whose mission is to raise awareness about cervical cancer and its link to HPV through education and prevention.
The Department of Health and Human Services has adopted guidelines for insurance coverage on women’s preventive health services that include all the recommendations recently made by the Institute of Medicine and require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.
What’s at stake in the HHS decision around the IOM recommendations on contraception? First, the health and rights of women who will benefit from easier access to contraception. And second, the IOM’s action draws attention to the extent to which contraception has become yet another front in the nation’s unending culture war.
When my mom knew my birth control was not only preventing “changes in my mood” but also the chance that I could get pregnant, she stopped paying for my birth control; she said, “I am not supporting your habit.”