Access to health and guarantee of sexual and reproductive rights as a way of eradicating HIV

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Jaquelini Fernanda Gomes dos Santos, 2nd year in medical school, Ms. Jhonatan Guilherme Fernandes, 2nd year in medical school and Ms. Eloyne Sartor Holanda Moraes, 4th year in medical school. They are 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 writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Sexual and reproductive health goes beyond counseling, reproductive assistance and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including the protection of sexual and reproductive rights and the concept of citizenship. Thus, AIDS represented a new way of thinking and building public policies, seeking its understanding as a chronic disease and its interfaces, without prejudice (VIDAL et al., 2006).

Sexual and reproductive rights are guaranteed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. In addition, in recent decades, legislation has advanced in the area, as noted in the UN Millennium Development Goals in 2000, in which four of the eight objectives it is directly related to sexual and reproductive health, namely: the promotion of equality between the sexes and the autonomy of women; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and the reduction of infant mortality (BRASIL – MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE, 2013).

The right of access to information, means, methods and techniques for having or not having children and the right to exercise sexuality and reproduction free from discrimination, imposition and violence are reproductive rights. The sexual right refers to the right to live and freely express sexuality without violence, discrimination, impositions, fear and shame and the right to safe sex to prevent pregnancy, STIs and AIDS (BRASIL – MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE, 2013).

In Brazil, in 2018, 43,941 new HIV cases and 37,161 AIDS cases were diagnosed, with a detection rate of 17.8 / 100,000 inhabitants and 10,980 deaths from basic AIDS were recorded, with a rate of 4.4 / 100,000 population (BRASIL – MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE, 2019).

According to Paiva, Pupo and Barboza (2006), despite advances in legislation, there is little activism for the right to prevention, either through access to inputs, such as condoms; access to information, counseling, education and quality treatment for STIs, sexual and reproductive health or the prevention of vertical transmission.

Thus, working to prevent STIs, HIV and AIDS is to work so that people can protect themselves during sexual intercourse, using condoms. It is working to use disposable syringes and have the necessary care during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. But today we also know that in order to carry out prevention we need to work for health promotion, for increasing the capacity of people, groups and the community in general to protect themselves and work for the collective confrontation of social problems that affect our health.

Therefore, the eradication of HIV will only be achieved by ensuring access to quality health and sexual and reproductive rights. Thus, affirmative policies should be formulated, promoting permanent professional education and creating / expanding access to services that include people with HIV. (VIDAL et al., 2006).


VIDAL, Eglídia Carla Figueirêdo et al. Políticas públicas para pessoas com HIV: discutindo direitos sexuais e reprodutivos. Revista da Rede de Enfermagem do Nordeste, v. 10, n. 2, p. 166-174, 2009.

BRASIL – MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE – Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde – Departamento de Atenção Básica. Saúde sexual e saúde reprodutiva 1. ed., 1. reimpr. – Cadernos de Atenção Básica, n. 26. Brasília : Ministério da Saúde, 2013.

BRASIL – MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE – Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde. Boletim epidemiológico de HIV/Aids 2019. Número Especial. Dez. 2020.

PAIVA, Vera; PUPO, Ligia Rivero; BARBOZA, Renato. O direito à prevenção e os desafios da redução da vulnerabilidade ao HIV no Brasil. Revista de saúde pública, v. 40, p. 109-119, 2006.

BRASIL – MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE – Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde. Manual de prevenção das DST/HIV/AIDS em comunidades populares. 2008.

About the author

Jaquelini Fernanda Gomes dos Santos, 2nd year in medical school, member of the local committee of IFMSA Brazil-Uningá. Jhonatan Guilherme Fernandes, 2nd year in medical school, member of the local committee of IFMSA Brazil-Uningá. Eloyne Sartor Holanda Moraes, 4th year in medical school, local president of the local committee of IFMSA Brazil-Uningá. These students from different years are academics from Ingá University Center (Uningá) and articulated themselves with the objective of reporting a current problem that has occurred in their country and in the world.

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