As part of the main drivers of the BAM Group of Companies, this being the umbrella company within which Informative Newspaper operates, alongside sister brands Finite Magazine, Finite Lifestyle Club, Bam Promotions and Twin Talk, Informative Newspaper takes particular interest in social issues and causes created to advance the development of young girls and women and their participation in the global space.

To advance and cement the organization’s support for women and young girls, the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is today, through this issue introduced. Its purpose is to advance knowledge and create further awareness on developments surrounding the said community sector and to help audiences stay updated on such, further guiding means of both action and reaction to these developments.

The journey continues…

Sexual and reproductive
rights and health of women
living with HIV
Women and girls remain at the sharp edge of the HIV epidemic globally: despite the scale-up of treatment and a sharp decline in AIDS-related deaths, 51% of people living with HIV are women.

AIDS-related illnesses remain the leading cause of death amongst girls and women between the ages of
15-49. In Southern and East Africa, young women (aged 15–24 years) accounted for
26% of new HIV infections in 2016, despite making up just 10% of the

Useful definitions

Domestic violence: refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that
causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual
coercion, and psychological abuse and/ or controlling behaviours.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV): includes all acts perpetuated against women, men,
boys and girls on the basis of their sex which causes or could cause them physical,
sexual, psychological, emotional or economic harm, including the threat to take
such acts, or to undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on or deprivation
of fundamental freedoms in private or public life in peace time and during situations
of armed or other forms of conflict. It covers domestic violence, sexual harassment
in the workplace, human trafficking and sexual and emotional abuse, to name a few
examples. It includes sexual violence.

Sexual violence: is any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or other act
directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their
relationship to the victim, in any setting. It includes rape, defined as the physically
forced or otherwise coerced penetration of the vulva or anus with a penis, other body
part or object.

Sexual and reproductive health services: include availability and access to services
that support healthy sexuality and reproduction such as services and support to
help women plan their families, including pre-conception support and/or access
to contraception as well as attention to infertility and cervical cancer screening and

International and regional human rights

Sexual and reproductive rights are increasingly seen as an integral part of the
human right to health, which is recognised by regional and international human
rights instruments and is considered as critical and interconnected with all human

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW) prohibits all forms of discrimination against women and the Protocol to
the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa
(the Maputo Protocol) similarly requires all states in the African region to combat
discrimination against women.

In addition to the wide-ranging prohibition against
discrimination, international and regional human rights obligations also provide
that governments should:

• Protect, promote and fulfil sexual and reproductive rights: these rights relate
to various human rights, including the rights to life, health and privacy, the
rights to education and to equality and non-discrimination. CEDAW states that
women have the right to determine the number, spacing and timing of their
children and to have access to contraception and the information needed
to exercise that right, while the Maputo Protocol includes the right to decide
whether to have children, and the number and spacing of pregnancies, as
well the right of women to control their fertility and to have access to family
planning education. The Protocol also includes the right to be protected
against HIV and STIs and a limited right to access abortion.

• Protect, promote and fulfil women’s rights to live lives free from violence. The
Maputo Protocol obligates States to adopt laws to prohibit all forms of violence
against women and punish perpetrators.

• Take steps to eliminate the harmful practices that negatively affect the human
rights of women. The Maputo Protocol explicitly recognises this and obligates
states to eradicate these practices.
The CSW adopted a resolution on women, girls and HIV that recognises the
impact of gender inequality, harmful practices and violence on women and girls’
vulnerability to HIV. The resolution calls on government to intensify their efforts to
achieve gender equality and eliminate violence against women and girls.
In addition to their legal obligations under international and regional human
rights laws, SADC countries have also committed to achieving the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. These goals aim to end
extreme poverty, eliminate inequality and injustice and address climate change
by 2030. There are several goals that address gender equality and sexual and
reproductive health:

The targets that have been set to measure progress towards achieving these goals by 2030 include
ending discrimination against women and girls, eliminating violence against women and girls in the
public and private spheres, and all harmful practices.

The targets also include ensuring universal access
to SRHR.

The 2016 United Nations (UN) General Assembly Political Declaration on Ending AIDS recognises the devastating impact of the HIV epidemic on women and girls, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and also sets ambitious targets to reduce the number of new HIV infections and ensure universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

These include:

• Reaching and sustaining 95% of pregnant women living with HIV with lifelong HIV treatment
by 2018;
• Reducing the number of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women to
below 100 000 per year;

• Ensuring that 90% of adolescent girls and women at high risk of HIV infection access
comprehensive prevention services by 2020;

• Ensuring that 90% of young people have the skills, knowledge and capacity to protect
themselves from HIV;

• Ensuring that 90% of young people in need have access to sexual and reproductive health
services and combination HIV prevention options by 2020;
• Ensuring universal access to quality, affordable and comprehensive sexual and
reproductive health care and HIV services, information and commodities for women;

• Eliminating gender inequalities and ending all forms of violence and discrimination against
women and girls; and

• Ensuring that 90% of key populations – including female sex workers, transgender women,
women who inject drugs and prisoners – access comprehensive prevention services,
including harm reduction, by 2020.

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