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Internationally-recognised approach to sexual health

Internationally-recognised approach to sexual health for the Pacific

Monday 5 May 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji –
An internationally-recognised approach to sexual health and well-being is being readied to be rolled out in the Pacific region, after it was endorsed by Pacific Directors of Health in Fiji last week. It will now be tabled for consideration at the Pacific Ministers of Health meeting in Solomon Islands in July 2014.

‘The Pacific Sexual Health and Well-being Shared Agenda provides Pacific Island countries and territories with a guiding framework for extending access to sexual health services to all people, including vulnerable groups such as men who have sex with men, young people, women, seafarers and sex workers,’ said Michelle O’Connor, SPC’s Sexual Reproductive Health Policy and Planning Adviser.
The Shared Agenda advocates for a comprehensive rights-based approach to sexual health, whereby all people have the knowledge, skills, and tools within a supportive environment to protect and promote their sexual health, well-being, and human rights.

It is influenced by five internationally-recognised domains for improving sexual health and wellbeing; legislation, policies and human rights; education; society and culture; economics; and health systems.

‘The Shared Agenda captures current thinking and aligns with the post 2015 development agenda. With this innovative document, the Pacific is ahead of the rest of the world in paving the way for integrating HIV and other STIs into sexual and reproductive health,' said Tim Rwabuhemba, UNAIDS Country Director for the Pacific.

‘There is no one size fits all approach. The Shared Agenda is a regional framework, but is flexible enough to meet PICTs’ unique and diverse needs,’ said Ms O’Connor.

‘It has been developed in partnership with PICTs after extensive consultation with Pacific Ministries of Health, civil society organisations and development partners.’

The Shared Agenda was developed in recognition of the fact that the Pacific region faces a number of complex issues that cannot be effectively addressed by a single focus on disease areas; these include alarmingly high rates of gender-based violence and sexual assault, teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Development of the Shared Agenda is being led by SPC in partnership with the United Nations family, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine. It was made possible thanks to support from the Pacific Islands HIV and STI Response Fund and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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