Focus On... Integrating Family Planning and HIV/AIDS Services: A digest of key resources
This first issue of Focus on... presents information about the benefits and challenges of linking HIV/AIDS services and family planning and related reproductive health care. To highlight the major issues of integration (also called linkages), Focus on... summarizes key points from selected resources--most from the past 3 years--that reflect field successes, lessons learned, and further avenues for research. There are strong arguments for family planning and HIV/AIDS integration on both sides. Potentially, family planning services offer a path to extend HIV prevention efforts and to see that family planning decisions consider STI prevention. At the same time, people living with HIV have continuing needs for help with family planning--both in making decisions about their fertility and to obtain services and supplies. While proponents of family planning and HIV/AIDS integration cite benefits, the reality of implementation has involved a number of challenges: limited evidence to document benefits, stigma, bias of providers, families, and communities potentially interfering with fertility choices of HIV-positive men and women, lack of integrated funding streams to facilitate joint services, concerns about health care capacity, among others. This digest of integration resources, while covering only some of the issues, is designed to provide the reader with practical information for planning and implementing improved public health programs.