It is widely agreed that HIV/AIDS should be prominent in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) of African countries in light of the challenge the pandemic poses to poverty reduction efforts. A desk review of PRSPs and National Strategic Plans on HIV/AIDS was therefore conducted to assess how HIV/AIDS is being addressed in PRSPs. The commitments made during the 2001 United Nations General Assembly Session provide the framework of analysis, with a focus on children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS.The results of the desk review show that the PRSP process has started to add value by bringing HIV/AIDS into national poverty planning processes, but progress in transforming stated objectives into actual programmes is slow. PRSP planned actions are often not backed up with indicators and budgets, which creates a significant risk of implementation slippage. Of particular concern is the fact that the situation of orphans and vulnerable children receives little attention in PRSPs and National Strategic Plans, despite the large magnitude of the problem in some countries. This is alarming given that a serious response for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS requires long-term government commitment that is embedded in multi-sectoral poverty reduction efforts. PRSPs could do more to promote action for children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS by building on the strengths of their principles and approaches. First, given the links between HIV/AIDS and poverty, interventions should be directed at reducing the HIV/AIDS-related causes and consequences of poverty. This concerns particularly young people and children orphaned or made vulnerable by the pandemic. Second, PRSPs can play a strong role in enhancing the HIV/AIDS response. Strengthening the links between HIV/AIDS programmes and governments' annual budgets would help accelerate the implementation of the HIV/AIDS response. Building stronger links between PRSPs and National Strategic Plans on HIV/AIDS Plans is a key prerequisite.Third, country ownership of PRSPs should be enhanced. Because the scope of PRSP programmes goes beyond the government budget to concern civil society, various stakeholders should play an increased role in the formulation of programmes and the monitoring of their implementation. Establishing an effective partnership among governments and civil society organizations is therefore critical.
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