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Commentary & Opinion
Exclusion of Family Planning, HIV Prevention From Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partnership Is "Counter-Intuitive"

November 1, 2011

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, examines the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership, which was launched last month by PEPFAR in conjunction with the George W. Bush Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and UNAIDS with the aim of "integrat[ing] cervical and breast cancer education, screening, and treatment with HIV services." She writes, "Given that women living with HIV are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, it makes sense. It's a logical and critical part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support services." But while the initiative "has the potential to reduce the number of cancer deaths among women living with HIV and improve their overall health," the fact "that planning a family and preventing further HIV transmission is not part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support" is "counter-intuitive and counter-productive," Sippel continues.

"Integrating and linking voluntary family planning, HIV, and cervical cancer prevention saves lives, improves access to quality care and promotes human rights," she writes, adding, "U.S. foreign policy, through the Global Health Initiative and starting with PEPFAR, needs to integrate family planning; maternal health; and HIV prevention, treatment, and care services on the ground. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a stellar example of how integrating a range of sexual and reproductive health services has the potential to save so many lives" (10/31).

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