African Countries like Kenya,Cape Town,Chile,Namibia and also Mexico,Venezuela,Dominican Republc among others are known for practicing Sterilization forcefully on HIV positive women without their consent. With more recent revelations it is not only an African issue but global. Every woman has a right to have children with or without HIV. This forceful procedure is not only wrong but a violation of human rights.
Such Violations are conducted on unconscious, non-consenting women who are asked to sign documents which end up to be authorization for these procedures. Some of these women are illiterate and do not understand anything when given these documents to sign. In most cases these women are denied medical services, lured through incentives such as milk for the new born or free vouchers for free Cesarean delivery if they would agree to undergo this procedure. Some women come to find out that they had this procedure during delivery and they signed documents without knowing the contents and are now not able to bare children.
This procedure is considered 99.9 percent permanent method of family planning and the process is difficult to reverse once done. Whether we believe making this women not give birth will reduce the spread of HIV does not help at all as sterilizing does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
Sterilization on women does have health complications like inability to control urine, heavy menstrual flow or none at all. Sterilized women at times have severe abdominal pain and back aches all these caused by post-tubal ligation. Every woman has a right to have children whether HIV positive or not,when they want and who they want with and the time to deliver. The whole decision entirely depends on the woman and no one should decide for this her.
Is this decision to sterilize HIV positive women a secret government policy? And if it was a policy to sterilize HIV positive victims wouldn’t this be stereotyping them? These victims of HIV are part of us,need to have equal rights as us and equal opportunities in terms of employment,health,education and any other basic need like any other person.
Today the HIV woman has the right to decide whether she wants a normal delivery or a Cesarean depending on their condition. But still more women especially in the rural areas don’t know this. Doctors tell them they will deliver HIV positive babies if they don’t do a Cesarean, and the Cesarean will not be done if they don’t agree to be sterilized.
The governments of different countries should come up with policies that uphold sexual and reproductive rights not forgetting justice to be served on the women who had this procedure done to them without their consent.