People lead complicated lives and face a multitude of challenges every day. But having HIV can make things even more complex, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Where will I live? How will I feed my family? How do I keep my children healthy? How will I get to the clinic for my appointment?
One constant is that people with HIV need care and support over the course of a lifetime, depending on robust health, educational and protection systems that safeguard some of the most vulnerable members of society from violence, exploitation and abuse.
A healthy life and an empowered community are possible if we work together to improve access to HIV prevention and treatment services.
Response #1: HIV-specific interventions
High-impact, effective HIV interventions transform the lives of people with or at risk of HIV. These can include antiretroviral therapy, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, condom programming and behavior change. But to support these interventions, national systems must be resilient and able to adapt to geographic and social inconsistencies, as well as health emergencies.
Response #2: Health, education and protection services
HIV services in the health, education and protection sectors are critical to effective HIV interventions. For example, maternal and child health days, or child malnutrition programmes, can vastly improve child health outcomes, while HIV testing in schools may result in increased levels of testing. What’s more, integrated HIV, maternal and drug-dependency services have also demonstrated promising outcomes for both HIV and opiate addiction..
Response #3: Strengthened social services
We must tackle the underlying social, economic and political barriers that threaten to stall progress, and we must do it fast. Strengthened social services are key, helping to identify people who need assistance, offering treatment to those who live with HIV, and supporting others to stay HIV-free. Today, children are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty, increasing vulnerability and risk-taking. In particular, cash transfers for adolescents have been found to improve access to health, education and nutrition.