May 31, 2012
On May 7-8, WHO, UNAIDS and UNFPA convened a stakeholder consultation in Montreux, Switzerland, to discuss next steps for implementing the WHO technical note on hormonal contraceptives and HIV risk. Civil society was well represented at the meeting, and included AVAC collaborators from the ATHENA Network, Bar Hostess Empowerment Project (host of 2011 Fellow Grace Kamau), the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS East Africa (the host of Lydia Mukombe, 2012 Fellow) and AIDS-Free World.
In March and April, Lydia conducted a series of interviews with reproductive health providers in Uganda to find out what they were doing to implement the WHO technical note recommendation that women at risk of HIV using injectable progestogen-only contraceptive be strongly counseled to use condoms. The answer: Nothing new. As ICW EA director Lillian Mworeko reported at the Montreux meeting, five of Uganda’s largest service providers said that they didn’t see the note as a reason to change their programming. This report back was a key part of the discussion about the need to implement a well-structured communications strategy to reach service providers and other stakeholders. A guidance document is expected from this consultation, and advocates will be providing input and tracking the process to ensure that the convening agencies make good on their commitments.