Community Education and Referral: Supporting adherence to ARV treatment and prevention for people with HIV in Zambia Interim Progress Report: June 1st 2004 - April 1st 2005

Programme Reports & Evaluations
12 p.

Each day 300 - 500 people in Zambia become infected with HIV. About 900,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS, and of these 200,000 people need ARV treatment. The scale up of ARV treatment is based on the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Framework for 2003 - 2008. The Zambian government's national implementation plan for scaling up ARV treatment explicitly states that "communities can make major contributions to ART programmes."One of the guiding principles of the government's programme is to promote partnerships between government, private sector, civil society and communities as an essential component for effective scale up of ARV treatment. The Community Education and Referral: Supporting Adherence to ARV Treatment and Prevention for People with HIV project, funded by the European Union and USAID, was officially launched on June 1st, 2004. The objectives of the project are to: Increase understanding of how to expand health literacy particularly about ARV treatment, achieve better health-seeking behaviour, improve equity of access, boost ARV adherence, and improve prevention for people with HIV; Document approaches for mobilizing and building on existing community structures and engaging and involving people with HIV to support ARV adherence and prevention for people with HIV; explore strategies that can decrease stigma and discrimination through efforts targeted at different stakeholders in the community (e.g. health care providers, people with HIV, traditional healers, other service providers). The project sites are in Lusaka and Ndola. Activities are about to start in a third site, Kazungula. The project also has a research component to study how these kinds of community activities impact on knowledge levels and on peoples' abilities to adhere to ARV treatments and sustain protective behaviour. The operations research aims to explore the following questions: 1. What is the effect of community education and referral on a community's knowledge about ARV treatment and how to access ARV programs, health-seeking behaviours, adherence to ARV treatment, HIV preventive behaviour, and on stigma and discrimination towards people with HIV? 2. How does building the capacity of people with HIV to support adherence and prevention contribute to preventive behaviour, ARV adherence and health maintenance among people with HIV? 3. How does building the capacity of people with HIV to support adherence and prevention contribute to and influence the social capital of people with HIV? 4. What are the levels of ARV adherence, preventive behaviour and reported experiences of stigma and discrimination of people taking ARV treatment through the government programme?;This is a progress report on work completed on this project between June 2004 and April 2005.

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