Only HIV and syphilis are screened during antenatal care in Cameroon, despite the fact that HIV is known to be associated with other sexually transmitted infections.
In its purest essence, religion seeks to promote justice, dignity and compassion. These core values can be harnessed in the effort to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Due to traditional beliefs about male virility, many men worldwide shun vasectomy, reducing the efficacy of this reliable method of contraception.
In Thailand, innovative HIV prevention advocates engage the community by emphasizing sexual diversity, conducting religious outreach, and involving community members in research.
Both young men and young women in Zambia are under pressure to engage in multiple sexual relationships. For men, it's due to norms of masculinity, and for women, it's due to economic hardship.
In Jamaica, as in many parts of the world, HIV and AIDS create a specter of fear and persecution leading to stigma, discrimination and, for many, the concealment of the disease.
African women giving birth are often affected by low incomes and and high stress levels, increasing the likelihood of onset of postpartum depression.
To respond effectively to the epidemics of AIDS and TB around the world, a strategy for communicating messages that influence individual behavior change, community attitudes and socio-political dynamics is critical.
Tuberculosis has a major impact on women's reproductive health and the health of their children, but there is little attention to women's vulnerability in the current media blitz about a resurgent TB internationally, and in particular, in sub-Saharan Africa.
Menstruation is perhaps one of the most ordinary individual female experiences but, in sub-Saharan Africa, the experience often impacts society as a whole negatively due to the absence of clean water, sanitation, and products to cope with menstrual flow.
In order to make real progress, there has to be a paradigm shift in our perception of sex and sexuality in the context of HIV. Money tied with restrictions that exclude many groups and limit access to services will only save to extend the lifeline of the epidemic.
For both self-protection and for humanitarian reasons, Americans should be seriously concerned about the explosion of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, where the reality of sex workers and the Global Gag Rule are factors in the continuing spread of the disease.
In Zimbabwe, abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, fetal impairment, or to preserve a woman's health, is illegal - and if caught, women face jail terms. As a result, many women resort to clandestine, unsafe and life-threatening abortion methods.
If new media's unparalleled ability to communicate with millions of people around the world is fully harnessed, more people than ever will be able to receive vital, life-saving information on AIDS.
The new AIDS data -- indicating that the number of cases of HIV worldwide is not as high as previously estimated -- must be seen as a call to vigilance.
Protecting the sexual and reproductive health rights of every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, is essential for a just social order. However, in many parts of Asia, sexual minorities face serious human rights violations.
It is not enough to teach adolescents the theory and moral aspects of sex - they also need life skills to deal with practical situations. Denying that young people engage in sexual activity is a recipe for disaster and a better response requires equipping adolescents with adequate knowledge to protect themselves.
Nothing short of a Herculean effort is required to help the growing legion of orphans in Zambia to lead normal lives. A holistic approach including provisions for nutrition, health and cognitive development, and educational and psychosocial support is required to effectively respond to the orphan crisis.
Family planning can help people living with HIV have healthy and pleasurable sexual lives.
Unsafe abortion is the second leading cause of death in Ethiopia. So the Ministry of Health's announcement that it will provide family planning services to 8.5 million women across the country is particularly welcome.
Genuine political will to fight the epidemic at all levels, along with an allocation of resources that are consistently monitored and accounted for, is critical to an effective AIDS response.
In sub-Saharan Africa, cross-generational relationships, typically between adolescent girls and older male partners, have been pointed out as a key vector in the high rates of HIV infection.
In many parts of the world, violence against women is a mirror of the structural and traditional inequalities between men and women. Due to women's subordinate status in society, they are treated as property by their male counterparts.
Continued and committed leadership is crucial to getting and staying ahead of the AIDS epidemic.
The fight against HIV cannot be won by medicine alone. The social phenomena that propagate the disease must also be addressed.
A recent report in Zimbabwe shows that violence against women has become normalized, so programs that encourage men to shun the use of violence need to be an integral component of every HIV intervention.
For twenty years, Zimbabwe fought TB successfully, but now TB and HIV co-infection rates are sky-rocketing.
Cervical cancer is a leading cancer-related cause of death in the developing world, and doesn't get enough attention.
AIDS education is key to empowering internally displaced populations but often neglected, argues a new UNESCO/UNHCR report.
Universal access to HIV treatment by 2010 is an unrealistic pipe dream unless more is done now according to a new report entitled Missing the Target from the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition.
According to the 15% Now Campaign, African governments must urgently implement their pledge to dedicate 15 percent or more of annual budgets to health care in order to stem the tide of deaths.
Clearly, men have unique sexual and reproductive health needs, but their needs are more often than not sidelined in reproductive health service provision. Men's limited participation in reproductive health affects not only the health of men themselves, but also their female partners, children and the general society.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the boundaries of tradition and culture are holding women back from much-needed progress, leaving them vulnerable to the vicious cycle of HIV infection, poverty, stigma, violence and death.
Floritah Chiradza, an HIV-positive Zimbabwe woman, who shares her journey to help fight discrimination and stigma against HIV. Today is National HIV Testing Day in the United States.
Sex with multiple partners is gaining attention in sub-Saharan Africa in order to address a ballooning epidemic, where just 12 percent of men and 10 percent of women know their HIV status.
People should be able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to have children. But in Zimbabwe, this right is curtailed by the unseen force of tradition and culture.
A recent UN report addresses sexual violence as "the shame of war." Populations that are displaced as a result of conflict face reproductive health challenges that are not currently being met, especially those of women and girls.
Microbicides may be a potential solution for women to control their sexual health, but accessibility, women's inequality and other issues must be addressed for this to be an effective preventative method in Thailand.
Pat (not her real name) had been living with HIV for seven years—five of which she was taking life prolonging ARVs—when she suddenly became pregnant. Her doctor referred her to a clinic with explicit instruction to get the pregnancy terminated.
Like most women in Thailand and around the globe, there was very little Pat could do to avoid or keep the pregnancy. She says lack of access to appropriate contraceptives left her vulnerable to the unintended pregnancy. Also, little knowledge about what a woman can do to prevent transmitting HIV to the child left her with very little choice.
Editor's Note: Today we welcome Masimba Biriwashi, a Zimbabwean writer and journalist, writing from Thailand. He has experience with Health & Development Networks and will be covering HIV/AIDS issues on the continents of Africa and Asia.
Male circumcision (removal of the foreskin of the male penis) is increasingly gaining currency as an alternative method to reduce HIV-infection. In sub-Saharan Africa, the worst affected region in the world, male circumcision (MC) could prevent six million new infections, researchers say.