Ending HIV: The contribution of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. George Vaiopoulos, a 21 years old fourth-year medical student at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Finding a way to eradicate HIV is a goal set by Organizations, Governments, and the Medical Community. Many Campaigns worldwide intend to sensitize the public and promote safe sexual intercourses. Is it possible for humanity to achieve this goal without combining HIV with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)?

SRHR & HIV: Τhe Facts

To begin with, the connection between HIV and SRHR is an established fact, since this retrovirus is predominantly sexually transmitted or associated with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. SRHR strategies lead to several important health and well-being benefits, such as better HIV testing outcomes, more consistent condom use and improved healthcare. As a result, safe sex practices and typical testing can protect the health status of the general population and stem the HIV spread worldwide.

Ending HIV

The path to eliminate HIV is quite simple: every person should test often, treat the disease, if present, in the early stages and apply safe sexual practices. By taking antiretroviral therapy, a person living with HIV can no longer transmit the virus, which is a major step ahead. Scientists also work on the discovery of an HIV vaccine, which is a demanding procedure. In addition, people who are at high risk of HIV infection, such as sex workers, may have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), but its disposal is limited. As it seems, ending the virus consists of many elements, such as personal responsibility and character stability, combined with continuous effort by health specialists and Organizations. 

The Angle of a Medical Student │What should be done

Despite the SRHR and HIV linkages, there are still many actions that need to be taken. The benefits of this potential linkage are not yet presented as a priority in the healthcare sector, causing confusion when treating and consulting people. Healthcare specialists should be capable of interacting with their patients in a trustful basis, treating them without any distinction and respecting their state. Only then will they achieve aiding their patients in order to overcome their physical and mental symptoms. At the same time, we, medical students should acquire the cognitive background, appropriate linguistic skills, and compassion for our future patients. It is high time we start getting more active and aware of the social discrimination directed at people living with HIV, called stigma, and endeavor to eliminate it. In addition, voluntarism, namely through Campaigns, social events, educational opportunities and workshops, is a way of raising awareness for the importance of SRHR strategies and acquiring a new mindset on how to apply them in our daily medical practice.

To sum up, based on the conclusions made out of the data analysis, the best way forward is a linkage between the HIV and SRHR communities. It is significant, we take the initiative and work on it, to aid the society and assimilate those practices. As a result, we will create a brighter future, which will be HIV-free, non-stigma and more equal for everyone.


  1. http://srhr.org/
  2. https://endinghiv.org.au/ending-hiv/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html
  4. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5886072/
  6. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention/potential-future-options/
  7. https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-social-issues/stigma-discrimination

About the author

George Vaiopoulos is 21 years old, Greek and a fourth-year medical student at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He is a member of HelMSIC (Hellenic Medical Students’ International Committee) and currently LORA. He is involved in quite a few projects and a SWG for organizing World AIDS Day. He likes talking about SCORA-related subjects and he believes that people should take every opportunity possible. He enjoys taking part on international tasks. He is interested in plastic surgery and dermatology and his motto is  ̴  Dedicated to Evolve ̴ .

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

New UN rights report paints bleak picture in eastern DR Congo

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

The key takeaways of G7 Summit in Canada

Cyprus banks under scrutiny

6.1 billion EUR for sustainable fisheries and safeguarding fishing communities

Commission opens first European Innovation Council calls worth €1 billion

Human trafficking cases hit a 13-year record high, new UN report shows

The EU heads of State and Government about the result of the European Elections 2019

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

Companies need help to overcome rising

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

EU investment budget for 2020: A boost for the climate

Darfur: Inter-communal tensions still high despite improved security, Mission head tells Security Council

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

Work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’, Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Raytheon by UTC, subject to conditions

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

Calculators didn’t replace mathematicians, and AI won’t replace humans

What lies ahead for the Korean Peninsula?

The Collapse of the Brazilian Health Care System

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

COVID-19: latest on evaluation and authorisation of vaccines

It’s getting harder to move data abroad. Here’s why it matters and what we can do

To build back better, we must reinvent capitalism. Here’s how

Iraq: UN human rights report voices concern over conduct of ISIL fighter trials

15 years of risk: from economic collapse to planetary devastation

EU should set goal to end homelessness by 2030

These countries are the most peaceful – in 3 charts

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

What are antibody tests and can they get the world back to work?

What’s everyone talking about at Davos 2020?

Inaction over climate emergency ‘not an option’ says UN Assembly chief

Why nature is the most important stakeholder of the coming decade

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

Reusable packaging: 6 benefits beyond sustainability

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

How cultural understanding can help in the cultural shock

Why skills are keeping CEOs awake at night

These are America’s most dangerous jobs

EU to give more power to national antitrust authorities in a bid to secure regulatory fines

Does May have enough time in Parliament to table a soft Brexit deal?

Japan’s population is shrinking by a quarter of a million people every year

The beginning of a revolution in healthcare

FROM THE FIELD: Keeping Morocco’s indigenous culture and conservation in balance

‘World has failed’ victims of genocide too often: Guterres

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

The EU Parliament unanimously rejects Commission’s ideas about ‘seeds’

This is how a smart factory actually works

Protecting European consumers: toys and cars on top of the list of dangerous products

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

Commission welcomes the political agreement on the Common Provisions Regulation for shared management funds

European Business Summit 2014 Launch Event: “Energising Industrial Growth”

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus

The revenge of the fallen

How communities are dealing with economy, society and education in COVID-19 crisis     

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s