International Family Planning Conference Kicks-off in Addis Ababa

Family planning can be essential to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. The International Conference of Family Planning will be held this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

James Pursey/Malawi

The third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) will take place on November 12-15, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference will provide a platform to highlight successes that have been achieved in family planning around the world as well as hurdles that still need to be addressed—including the link between family planning and HIV/AIDS.

As recent studies have shown, family planning services are an important entry point to addressing HIV risk factors including gender-based violence, safe sex negotiation, voluntary counseling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and other interventions. These services can help reach women, youth, and men who would not seek out HIV services independent of other health services because of stigma or other barriers.

Linking HIV and family planning can also help reduce maternal deaths. Women and girls living with HIV are more likely to experience pregnancy complications and are at a higher risk of maternal death. Family planning programs empower women living with HIV to prevent health complications related to unplanned pregnancies and to plan pregnancies based on their child-bearing desires and health needs.

The 2013 ICFP is co-hosted by The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia with a multitude of international and national partners.

Check out this infographic to learn more about how family planning services can help prevent HIV/AIDS transmission and stay tuned to the blog for more updates from the ICFP and this important issue!

Johanna Harvey is the EGPAF Senior Communications Officer, based in Washington, D.C.