Sexual and Reproductive Health and the ICPD+15

May 11, 2009

Between 30 March and 03 April, the United Nations held in New York the 42nd Session of the Commission of Population and Development (ICPD+15.) After a week of debates, the government heads present confirmed the Cairo Action Plan and broadened the reach of the International Conference for Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, fifteen years ago, hence ICPD+15.

The resolution the Commission reached in 2009 advanced in the sense of proposing more inter-sectorial approach for AIDS and sexual and reproductive health policies, recognizing the rights of the youth and adolescent populations and, even without citing reproductive rights, strengthening the issue as something to be present in the policies for population and development.

Other important aspects were the specific reference to the assurance of the human rights and the confrontation of stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS; the confirmation of the commitments made at UNGASS-AIDS and the affirmation that sexual and reproductive health must be contemplated in the strategic national policies for preventing the spread of HIV and for caring for the people living with HIV (see paragraphs 16, 17, 18, and 19.) In the three months prior to the session, Gestos was active in many discussion groups about Cairo+15 and participated in the elaboration of the Latin American civil society shadow report, organized by the National Feminist Health Network, that, among other themes, focused on sexual and reproductive health of women, violence against women, and the feminization of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to Ms Alessandra Nilo, Gestos’ representative in the ICPD+15 Brazilian delegation, “civil society’s presence was fundamental for advancing the commitment.”

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“Confronting the AIDS Feminization” plan is still ONLY A PLAN

May 11, 2009

Since March, representatives of different social strata of Pernambuco have come together to discuss the Integrated Plan to Confront the Feminization of AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Disease, result of a partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Special Secretary of Policies for Women of the State. The meetings have happened at Gestos.

The plan, that has as a fundamental element the confrontation against the multiple vulnerabilities that contribute for the Brazilian women to become susceptible to HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, was launched in 2007 March. It has had much publicity in international events, but until today it has not been realized. In 2007 there were macro-region evaluation about the proposal, but the final version of the plan, with the contributions of those consultations, has not been made available either by the Ministry of Health or the State Special Secretary of Policies for Women, whose web site still has the old version of the plan.

In Pernambuco, the Secretary of Health, through the State Coordination of STD/AIDS, was responsible to present the proposal for the State Plan until 2007 December – deadline that has been long gone – and up until today, nothing.

For the organized civil society it is clear that the lack of publicity of the Plan among the social organizations and the lack of articulation between health and women policy managers, even though the plan was confirmed in the last National Conference for Public Policies for Women, 2007 August, has contributed to the demise of the plan’s realization.

Among the organizations that follow the debate are the Health Municipal Council of Recife and of the state of Pernambuco, Women Municipal Council of Recife, Race Equity Council, RNP+, Articulation Pernambuco AIDS, Women’s Forum of Pernambuco, Women Federation of Pernambuco, Young Feminists Colective, Sex Workers Association of Pernambuco and the Family and Gender Nucleus of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE).