The Daily Star (11.10.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
The Daily Star recently reported that Bangladeshi health officials and United Nations (UN) representatives joined a roundtable discussion on HIV prevention and the integration of reproductive health and HIV services. Dr. Ishrat Jahan, program manager of Adolescent and Reproductive Health at Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Family Planning, stated that Bangladeshis ages 10 to 19 had no access to health services for STD and HIV prevention and no legal options for unwanted pregnancies. Jahan advocated promoting dual use of condoms for birth control and STD prevention. Kazi Ali Reza, officer in charge of the UN Information Center, estimated that Bangladesh’s 70 million youth constituted 60 percent of the nation’s population.
Dr. Halida H. Khandker, executive director of Confidential Approach to AIDS Prevention, urged the Bangladesh government to incorporate HIV screening into family planning, maternity, and child healthcare services. Dr. Khandker Ezazul Haque, technical officer of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), added that integrating HIV prevention into family planning and regular healthcare services was essential to maintain low HIV prevalence in Bangladesh.
ABM Kamal Ahsan, program coordinator of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, advised that Bangladesh update its 1997 HIV/AIDS policy to include reproductive health. The roundtable identified HIV prevention coordination points in 16 different government ministries. Other recommendations included training healthcare workers to provide HIV prevention education in rural areas, educating migrants about HIV transmission, stopping child marriage, and social and financial empowerment for women.