At the time of the Cairo conference, 20 million people were infected with HIV; now it is 38 million. Although the world is scaling up AIDS prevention and treatment to millions worldwide, few of the agencies involved come from the world of reproductive and sexual health. "This is a pity because it fails to make use of valuable infrastructure and expertise already on the ground in places where AIDS hits hardest", says Dr El Feki.
Such obstacles yield sobering statistics: 60 million unwanted pregnancies, 19 million unsafe abortions, and over half a million women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth every year.
"Getting it right on reproductive health cannot wait another decade," says Dr El Feki. "The largest generation of young people in history...is entering adulthood. They are making their sexual debut at ever earlier ages, against a backdrop of rising sexually-transmitted diseases and growing social conservatism, which makes clear information, frank discussion and free choice on abortion, contraception and sexual health extremely difficult."
Dr. El Feki's article is published under an open access license--anyone, anywhere in the world is free to download, distribute, and reuse it freely as long as the article is properly cited.
Citation: El Feki S (2004) The birth of reproductive health: A difficult delivery. PLoS Med 1(1): e009.