Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

Aids Action Europe

AIDS Action Europe decided to work on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in its multiannual strategic framework.

As part of AAE's annual work on this issue, two topics were picked to work on in 2018‐2019:

  1. Combination Prevention 

  2. Chemsex

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), only some EU/EEA countries implement comprehensive prevention programmes for key populations. Two out of three countries report that funds available for prevention are insufficient in terms of what is required to reduce the number of new HIV infections. Specifically, there is a need to improve the targeting, scale and effectiveness of HIV combination prevention programmes for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), among whom there has been a steady increase in the numbers of new infections.

This includes integrating prevention information and methods into current communication technologies, such as gay dating apps, or improving access to PrEP. This approach is also crucial for other communicable diseases. Gay dating apps, for instance, have proven effective in raising awareness and promoting hepatitis A and B vaccinations after outbreaks in larger European cities.

Phenomena such as the use of any combination of drugs such as crystal methamphetamine, mephedrone and/or other party drugs before or during sex (chemsex), need to be addressed quickly and adequately. In relationships where any partner is engaged in high‐risk behaviour such as injecting drug use, innovative HIV prevention interventions should address the risk of sexual transmission. Work on SRHR, while including reproductive health, needs to be inclusive of all SRHR issues and identities, especially now as SRHR are at stake where developments in a number of countries reduce SRHR to reproductive health only.

Civil society and community based organisations have a crucial role to play in identifying and responding to emerging health risks and challenges, and in accessing key populations.

Combination Prevention is defined by the UNAIDS Prevention Reference Group as “...rights-based, evidence-informed, and community-owned programmes that use a mix of biomedical, behavioural, and structural interventions, prioritized to meet the current HIV prevention needs of particular individuals and communities, so as to have the greatest sustained impact on reducing new infections. Well-designed combination prevention programmes are carefully tailored to national and local needs and conditions; focus resources on the mix of programmatic and policy actions required to address both immediate risks and underlying vulnerability; and they are thoughtfully planned and managed to operate synergistically and consistently on multiple levels (e.g. individual, relationship, community, society) and over an adequate period of time. They mobilize community, private sector, government and global resources in a collective undertaking; require and benefit from enhanced partnership and coordination; and they incorporate mechanisms for learning, capacity building and flexibility to permit continual improvement and adaptation to the changing environment.”

Reference: “Combination HIV Prevention: Tailoring and Coordinating Biomedical, Behavioural and Structural Strategies 10 to Reduce New HIV Infections A UNAIDS Discussion Paper” 2010.

Chemsex is defined as the use of any combination of drugs, including crystal methamphetamine, mephedrone and/or GHB/GBL before and/or during sex among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans and non-binary people.

“Chemsex is a particular type of sexualized substance practice amongst gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and trans and non-binary people who participate in the “hook-up culture”.”

Reference: A position paper from organisers and participants of the 2nd European Chemsex Forum, Berlin 22-24 March 2018

Work Plan 2018-2019

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