Online Program

Building an advocacy coalition to respond to reproductive rights violations experienced by women with HIV in mesoamerica

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Tamil Kendall, PhD, Women and Health Initiative, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Eugenia Lopez Uribe, MA, Balance, Mexico City, Mexico
Background: Reproductive rights are internationally recognized human rights but women with HIV experience violations related to health-status. This presentation will describe lessons learned from coalition building with HIV-positive women (including sex workers and transgender women), women's health advocates, and feminist lawyers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico. The objective of the coalition is to document and respond to reproductive rights violations though advocacy and legal action. Methods: The first project phase (2008-2010) analyzed national policies on HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and trained women activists with HIV on national laws and international commitments such as CEDAW, ICPD, and the Millennium Development Goals. The second phase (2011-2012) brought together 45 HIV-positive women leaders and feminist lawyers from three regional networks and 35 civil society organizations to adapt and implement a questionnaire for documenting reproductive rights violations. Data was gathered through participant observation and 72 in-depth interviews. Results: 337 cases of reproductive rights violations of women with HIV were documented. The coalition launched a regional manifesto and organizations strengthened their national and international advocacy efforts on HIV and reproductive rights. For example, Mexico's 2011 shadow report to CSW mentioned women and HIV for the first time. Women with HIV and feminists also pursued justice in national forums. Diversity in women's education, socioeconomic status, and stigma present persistent challenges to coalition building. Conclusions: Coalition building around the reproductive rights of women with HIV has resulted in increased awareness and action in Mesoamerica. HIV-stigma and social inequalities are on-going challenges.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe how intersections between the political agendas of HIV-positive women and the broader women’s health movement have been mobilized to catalyze action around the reproductive rights of women with HIV in Mesoamerica. Identify persistent barriers to coalition-building between diverse groups of women in this context.

Keyword(s): Advocacy, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In collaboration with my co-author, I have conceptualized all aspects of the project to be reported on and conducted the research. For more than a decade, I have worked as an HIV researcher and an advocate for women with HIV in Latin America.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.