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Prevention of vertical HIV transmission and the HIV response for women in Latin America

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Title: Prevention of vertical HIV transmission and the HIV response for women in Latin America
Author: Kendall, Tamil R.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Interdisciplinary Studies
Copyright Date: 2012
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2012-11-16
Abstract: This study uses mixed methods to explore the barriers to implementation of prevention of vertical (mother-to-child) HIV transmission in Latin America generally, and Mexico specifically. In 2001, at the United Nations General Assembly on HIV and AIDS, States made a commitment to achieve 80% coverage of this highly effective medical intervention among pregnant women by 2010. Yet, in 2009, just slightly over half of pregnant women with HIV globally could access medications to prevent transmission of the virus to their child, and in Mexico less than ten per cent of pregnant women with HIV had this opportunity. I identify the regional and national political context and institutional practices as contributors to sluggish scale-up; however, these are undergirded by cultural constructs of who is at risk of HIV infection and gendered sexual norms and discrimination which increase women’s vulnerability to HIV. My qualitative and quantitative analysis both identify that women are primarily exposed to HIV within stable relationships. The failure to recognize HIV and AIDS as a significant public health issue for women in the region and to provide women with an opportune HIV diagnosis results in mortality and morbidity among women and their family members. To improve the HIV response for women in the region, the following actions must be taken: greater meaningful participation of women with HIV in both the women’s reproductive health and HIV movements; universal offer of HIV-testing during prenatal care; conceptual and functional integration of HIV with reproductive health and gender-violence services; adaptation of evidence-based HIV prevention interventions for women in stable relationships; and the implementation of existing legislation which protects women’s rights and institutionalization of gender transformative programs that can contribute to reducing women’s vulnerability to HIV.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43590
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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