For women in countries and communities with limited contraceptive choices and high rates of HIV, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, a shortage of funding for the ECHO (Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes) trial is an unacceptable development.
UNAIDS released a report in advance of World AIDS Day with hopeful news about the epidemic: there has been nearly a 50 percent reduction in new infections across 25 low and middle income countries. As UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe put it, “We are moving from despair to hope.” Young people are at the center of that success.
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 am a woman who can choose from many paths. Perhaps most importantly, I can choose whether or not I want to have sex, if I want to use a form of contraception, if I want to get married, and how many children I want to have. I know I am fortunate. In many developing countries, women are without these choices.