Parasite Harms Reproductive Health and Increases HIV Risk

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By: Sally Theobald, COUNTDOWN Consortium & Research in Gender and Ethics: Building stronger health systems (RinGs), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

I spent many of my teenage years living in Malawi, enjoying swimming in beautiful Lake Malawi. Wind on to age 30, and I was struggling to get pregnant. Eventually, following illness, I was diagnosed with schistosomiasis and told that I had probably been infected for a while and that it might be affecting my fertility. So I took praziquantel—the only available drug against the parasite—and soon after I was pregnant. Whilst the links between urogenital schistosomiasis (also called female genital schistosomiasis), sub-fertility and HIV have become increasingly well-established, sadly lacking is a combined and robust health system that brings together HIV, sexual, reproductive, maternal health and neglected tropical disease communities to address and scale up treatment for urogenital schistosomiasis… read more