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close this bookPrevention of HIV Transmission from Mother-to-Child: Planning for programme implementation - Conclusions of the meeting (UNAIDS, 1998, 16 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBackground
View the documentTaking interventions to scale
View the documentOptimum context
View the documentKey principles
View the documentUnresolved issues
View the documentThe need for action and support
View the documentCoordination mechanisms

Key principles

The following are some of the key principles that should underpin the implementation of all interventions to prevent mother to child transmission:

· The right to protect oneself from HIV infection, including through: (1) access to full information about HIV, including information on mother to child transmission, information from relevant research, and information concerning one’s serostatus; and (2) access to the means of prevention, such as condoms and relevant HIV/STD health services. This requires the integration of HIV prevention, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission, into existing systems, e.g. education, health care (including traditional health care), and community and women’s development (non-governmental and community-based organisations, traditional community leadership, etc.)

· The right to decide whether or not, and when, to bear a child. This requires access to information about family planning and access to family planning services. It also requires community and family acceptance of a woman’s or a family’s decisions.

· The right to voluntary/informed consent and confidentiality in HIV testing, counselling and treatment, including choices made in the context of mother to child transmission. This involves training of health care workers, including traditional health care workers, in providing informed consent and protecting confidentiality, and should lead to voluntary, informed, and when possible, supported decision-making on these and related issues.

· The right to an environment which enables women, parents and families to make choices that protect their health and that of their loved ones, and to act upon these choices. This includes reducing stigma and discrimination related to HIV and to mobilising communities for support. It also includes improving access to health care, including voluntary counselling and testing, antiretroviral treatment in pregnancy, treatment for opportunistic infections, and to the conditions necessary to use safe alternatives to breastfeeding.

· The right to ethical research, including research that does no harm, is conducted with informed consent and with the participation of communities in research design and implementation, and involves the dissemination of research results to affected communities.