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Urgent Need For Multipurpose HIV Prevention, Family Planning Methods Aimed At Women

“High HIV infection rates among women around the world point to an urgent demand for new prevention methods that specifically address women’s health needs,” Bethany Young Holt, the executive director of the Coalition Advancing Multipurpose Innovations, a project of the Public Health Institute, and Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, a scientist with the WHO, write in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. “It is time to turn our collective will toward finding methods that protect women from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections at the same time as preventing unplanned pregnancy,” they state, adding, “Multipurpose prevention technologies are a new class of products in development that do just that.”

“What stands in the way of advancing the field may be how women’s health issues are funded,” Holt and Lusti-Narasimhan continue, noting, “Sexual and reproductive health is generally understood as a subdiscipline of women’s health care, but HIV and reproductive health research operate with separate funding streams and discrete research disciplines that tend not to cross-pollinate ideas, share findings or collaborate.” They conclude, “Investing in multipurpose technology development and strengthening linkages between research fields will advance the sexual and reproductive health needs of women everywhere — and help stop the spread of HIV” (12/9).