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close this bookIntegrating Prevention and Care (UNAIDS - Best Practice Digest, 2000, 3 p.)
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Integrating Prevention and Care

Summarised from a Peace Corps report HIV/AIDS: Integrating prevention and care into your sector. Information Collection and Exchange Publication No. MOO81 July 2000.

For further information or copies, contact Peace Corps Centre for Field Assistance and Applied Research, Information Collection and Exchange, 1111 20th Street, NW - Fifth Floor, Washington DC 20526

This Ideas Book is one of a series produced to share specific activities you may be interested in replicating. All of the ideas come from volunteers. It is very difficult for any Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) to ignore the impact that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has on his or her work and personal life, especially if working in sub-Saharan Africa. The Peace Corps has adopted the policy that all Volunteers entering service in Africa are trained in HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

This Ideas Book offers some practical strategies for assessing and responding to the effects of HIV on each Peace Corps’ project areas, including: Agriculture and Environment, Small Enterprise Development, Health, Youth and Education. It also offers examples of creative and effective strategies used by Volunteers to integrate the issue of HIV into their activities through collaboration with other sectors or by designing activities targeting those most affected by AIDS.

The important message that Volunteers can take from this book is that their work can make a contribution to the prevention of HIV and to the care of people affected by HIV, while meeting the primary goals in agriculture, education or any other sector.

HIV/AIDS project design in your community

The epidemic can be a very sensitive issue in many communities, and there are often complex reasons for the way it is perceived by community members. The guidelines given for activity planning therefore assume that there will be some difficulties involved. It is important to be aware of community practices and beliefs and to encourage community members to lead prevention and care planning efforts. Such interventions should facilitate a feeling of personal and community responsibility. They should also encourage the community to recognise that they have the tools to prevent HIV transmission and the ability to create positive environments for those already infected and affected by the virus.

A checklist is given for the planning process. This includes:

· Work with community members throughout the process.

· Use the local culture and health beliefs in the message.

· Use interpersonal communication as well as mass media.

· Use communication strategies that are culturally familiar, for example, using the skills of members recognised for their prowess with language.

· Use positive motivational messages

The book spells out the necessary pre-activity learning and groundwork needed to be done by Volunteers, such as engaging local support by establishing relationships with local decision-makers, religious leaders and others, and identifying existing perceptions of HIV/AIDS. Interventions must be matched with current health practices, and activities should be based on the continuum of HIV infection in the community. If there is low HIV prevalence and lack of awareness about the epidemic, get the message out about HIV transmission and prevention to as many people as possible. If there is increased prevalence, identify the most vulnerable populations and those who influence them.

There are many obstacles that can inhibit community intervention activities, and the book provides strategies for dealing with them.

These divide into obstacles and strategies for the Volunteers themselves, such as fear of infection and fear of broaching the subject because it seems culturally inappropriate, and for local people, such as discrimination against people with HIV, and misinformation and myths about the epidemic.

Other sections deal with specific sectors such as the environment and small enterprise development; ways in which the HIV/AIDS impacts on each sector, questions to explore and ways in which volunteers have responded in different places.