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Safe Abortion: A Human Right Demanded by HIV-Positive Women in Latin America

Updated: 3 days ago

safe abortion is a right

53% of all people living with HIV in the world are women and girls, who also see their options for care limited if they decide to have an abortion. Women living with HIV have the same right to choose as anyone else, but the reality is that in Latin America, policies and laws limit their reproductive autonomy.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, abortion is prohibited without exception in four countries, and is only permitted to save the woman's life in seven, one of which is Venezuela. Only 3% of women in the region live in countries where abortion is legal without restrictions and, according to the World Health Organization, some 6.5 million abortions take place each year in the region, 76% of which are unsafe. These unsafe abortions result in some 760,000 hospitalizations and 900 maternal deaths per year.

Given this reality, it is necessary to make visible women with HIV and the legal, social, economic and health barriers that limit their access to safe abortion. The first barrier is stigmatization and discrimination by society, family, partners and health personnel, who judge them, reject them or violate their rights both because of their decision to have an abortion and because of their HIV status.

Many of them do not have information and orientation about their rights, their options and the risks and benefits of each abortion method. This is a determining factor for them to seek unsafe and risky options.

Similarly, health personnel in the region often do not have the training to offer quality, confidential and respectful health services for safe abortion, with medication or surgical procedures, according to their preference and clinical situation. Nor do they have easy access to psychosocial and emotional support during the abortion process and to prevent or treat possible complications or sequelae.

Finally, the lack of legal protection exposes them to criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, or to the violation of their privacy or intimacy in most Latin American countries.

Women with HIV Have the Right to Decide

These barriers not only violate the right to safe abortion of women living with HIV, but also put their health and lives at risk. Unsafe abortion can lead to infection, hemorrhage, perforation, infertility or death.

In addition, women living with HIV may be at higher risk of adverse abortion outcomes compared to non-HIV-infected women due to immunosuppression, high rates of co-infection with other sexually transmitted infections, and potential contraindications between medications used for medical abortion and antiretroviral therapy regimens.

Safe abortion for people living with hiv

Women living with HIV have the right to decide about their pregnancy and to access safe abortion without risk or obstacles. This is fundamental to their health, justice and well-being. From Aya Contigo, we want to promote sexual and reproductive rights and support the fight for all women living with HIV to have a safe abortion, with comprehensive, respectful and quality care that responds to their needs and preferences.

On World AIDS Day, we defend safe abortion as a way to promote the health and dignity of women living with HIV and that is why we make available our application, where you will find supportive accompaniment and reliable information for a self-managed abortion.

Contact us! We are here to accompany you in your process of safe abortion with pills.

Download the app Aya Contigo.



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