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Reproductive Justice Talking Points

April 19, 2011

Though millions of U.S. women access sexual and reproductive healthcare every year, few of those women are ever offered an HIV test. Similarly, HIV-positive women in the U.S. receive little or substandard sexual healthcare and information about reproductive options. With appropriate care, treatment, and supportive services, mother-to-child transmission has been virtually eliminated such that women living with HIV can bear HIV-negative children.

Reproductive justice for HIV-positive women means upholding our full spectrum of sexual and reproductive rights, including our right to choose when and how to be sexual and when or whether to have children and the information to make an informed decision. Reproductive Justice also extends to parenting and custody rights which are often taken away from women living with HIV.


  • Lack of HIV information and HIV testing
  • Discrimination, bias and stigma in healthcare settings
  • Sex-negativity: HIV-positive women are not treated as sexual beings with the right to a full, satisfying sexual life
  • Informed consent is not upheld. Women are sometimes tested for HIV during pregnancy, and HIV-positive women are sometimes sterilized during labor and delivery, without informed consent.
  • Family planning options are limited and not covered by public health insurance payers
  • Insufficient provider expertise and inadequate women-centered research
  • Discrimination in custody cases and court proceedings

PWN Recommends

  • Sexual and reproductive health services should be well-integrated with HIV services
  • Provide quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services including HIV prevention mechanisms in the jail and prison systems
  • All women have a right to

    • information,
    • voluntary, informed consent before any HIV test or medical treatment or procedure is performed,
    • confidentiality of HIV status,
    • comprehensive and quality medical care, and
    • the right to choose when and whether to have children
  • Include family planning options, such as the birth control pills, on medication formularies including ADAP
  • Train HIV providers serving women on HIV-positive women's basic sexual and reproductive healthcare needs and options for risk reduction and childbearing
  • Use up to date and accurate information on living with HIV and HIV transmissionin civil and criminal justice systems to prevent discrimination on child custody cases

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This article was provided by Positive Women's Network of the United States of America. Visit PWN-USA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
See Also
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
More on HIV & Pregnancy

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