In the 30 years since the HIV/AIDS pandemic began, nearly 30 million lives have been lost to the disease. Today, an estimated 35 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Each year, an additional 2.7 million people, including 390,000 children, are newly infected. In developing countries hardest hit by the disease, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS has drastically reduced adult life expectancy and orphaned 15 million children.
ICAP’s approach is grounded in an appreciation of the HIV pandemic’s broad impact on individuals, families, communities, and societies, and in an understanding of the connection between HIV/AIDS, childhood mortality and other health threats, including tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition, and limited access to reproductive health services. Working with host countries and other partners, ICAP supports HIV programs at the national, regional, facility, and community levels, building on local strengths and resources and providing a very broad range of implementation and technical assistance.
ICAP’s goals are to expand access to HIV services while strengthening health systems by providing technical and financial support for human resources, infrastructure, training and mentoring, laboratory, pharmacy, program management capacity, and monitoring and evaluation systems. Maintaining the health of people living with HIV requires an array of services. Recognizing this need, ICAP supports comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment services for adults, children, and adolescents with HIV. This includes:
- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV
- HIV counseling and testing, including early infant diagnosis
- Clinical and immunological monitoring, antiretroviral therapy, prevention in positives, and prevention of HIV complications
- Counseling, patient education, and adherence support
- Care and treatment for populations with low HIV service utilization
- Integrated HIV and mental health services
- Coordination of facility-based and community-based services
ICAP also supports a broad range of initiatives to empower patients and engage communities in HIV programs. These include:
- In Mozambique, patients, families, friends, and caregivers come together in weekly PositHIVe Teas to share their experiences and feelings
- In South Africa, Wellness Centers serve as vital links between patients and providers. At these centers, peer educators, lay counselors, social workers, and other treatment personnel advise patients on their care, psychosocial, and nutritional needs.
- In Rwanda, clinical advisors bring integrated HIV and mental health services to recovering populations
- In Swaziland, people living with AIDS are trained as “expert clients” to provide practical and emotional support to fellow patients and to promote treatment adherence
- In Kenya, peer educators take leadership roles in psychosocial support groups
To measure the reach and impact of HIV programs in PEPFAR-supported countries, ICAP is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a pivotal, multi-country initiative called the PHIA Project. Findings will play a critical role in guiding future HIV-related policy and funding priorities.