The contribution of sexual and reproductive health services to the fight against HIV/AIDS: A review

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Approximately 80% of HIV cases are transmitted sexually and a further 10% perinatally or during breastfeeding. Hence, the health sector has looked to sexual and reproductive health programmes for leadership and guidance in providing information and counselling to prevent these forms of transmission, and more recently to undertake some aspects of treatment. This paper reviews and assesses the contributions made to date by sexual and reproductive health services to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, mainly by services for family planning, sexually transmitted infections and antenatal and delivery care. It also describes other sexual and reproductive health problems experienced by HIV-positive women, such as the need for abortion services, infertility services and cervical cancer screening and treatment. This paper shows that sexual and reproductive health programmes can make an important contribution to HIV prevention and treatment, and that STI control is important both for sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS control. It concludes that more integrated programmes of sexual and reproductive health care and STI/HIV/AIDS control should be developed which jointly offer certain services, expand outreach to new population groups, and create well-functioning referral links to optimize the outreach and impact of what are to date essentially vertical programmes.