Every two minutes a woman dies of cervical cancer. Most of these deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa, which also has the highest HIV burden. Women living with HIV are up to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer, highlighting the urgent need to increase synergies between HIV and cervical cancer programming. Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), is preventable, and, if caught early, treatable. mothers2mothers will scale our proven peer-to-peer approach and enhance the sexual and reproductive health services we provide in five African countries, to help end cervical cancer by: Adding services focused on HPV prevention, early identification, treatment, and care to reach over 10 million adolescent girls and young women and adolescent boys and young men; broadening our geographic coverage; partnering with Village Reach to ensure that HPV vaccines and other health supplies reach the last mile; and strengthening the capacity
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Disruption of HIV treatment and supplies due to COVID-19 could cause an additional 500,000 AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in the next year alone, and reverse the gains made in virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In response, mothers2mothers (m2m) developed and is rapidly rolling out an e-service range to continue delivering our life-saving services through peer-led and community-based solutions, and support national and global efforts to combat COVID-19. We have also updated our proposal to include COVID-19 messaging such as next wave-related diagnosis, contact tracing, and treatment referrals in phase 2, and potential treatment and vaccine preparedness in phase 3. Changes to barrier assessment/risk mitigation include the impact of social distancing on face-to-face services, and increased myths/concerns around vaccines; logistical concerns given the 3-dose course of HPV vaccine required; and competing priorities in health systems to invest in and roll-out COVID-19 vaccines.
Racial and Ethnic Injustice Response
We know that Black Lives Matter, and we stand against racism, at any time, in any country. m2m was born in South Africa in response to a gross inequity; when Black lives did not seem to matter to the world in the face of a deadly HIV epidemic. The organisation responded by mobilising people living with and directly affected by a virus that destroyed biologically and socially. Our roots are deeply embedded in and connected to social justice and transformation, and through our work, we are helping to ensure access to health services for marginalised and vulnerable groups, while changing the narrative about what it means to be a Black woman living with HIV through employment and empowerment opportunities.