The UNAIDS Global Strategy 2021-2026 includes Female Genital Schistosomiasis
The new Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026, End Inequalities, End AIDS, adopted by the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Boards in March, highlights the importance of integrating schistosomiasis prevention and FGS screening & treatment in women’s health services.
The Global AIDS Strategy describes the impact of schistosomiasis and FGS in the following contexts:
- Female genital schistosomiasis represents a risk for the acquisition of HIV infection in areas where schistosomiasis is endemic. Preventive treatment of schistosomiasis, with HIV prevention and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health is important to protect the health of women and girls;
- Priority actions to prevent HIV must address the multiple needs of adolescent girls and young women by scaling up combination programme packages which link effective HIV prevention services with programmes that address HIV and sexual and reproductive health, including contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, prevention of schistosomiasis, sexually transmitted infections, gender-based violence and sociocultural gender norms, and which promote women’s empowerment and meaningful engagement.
The Global Strategy outlines the following goals regarding Female Genital Schistosomiasis:
- 90% of school-aged young girls in priority countries have access to HPV vaccination, as well as female genital schistosomiasis (S. haematobium) screening and/or treatment in areas where it is endemic;
- 90% have access to sexual and reproductive health services that integrate HIV prevention, testing and treatment services. These integrated services can include, as appropriate to meet the health needs of local population, HPV, cervical cancer and STI screening and treat, female genital schistosomiasis (S. haematobium) screening and/or treatment, intimate partner violence (IPV) programmes, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) programmes that include post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), emergency contraception and psychological first aid.
These targets interlink closely with the WHO NTD Roadmap 2030 goals of eliminating schistosomiasis as a public health problem and integrating NTDs into national health strategies and essential services through cross-sector collaborations. The inclusion of schistosomiasis prevention and FGS in the UNAIDS Global Strategy for HIV prevention shows how we can work together in a mutually supportive way to combat health inequalities, provide health for all and attain the Sustainable Development Goals.