International HIV Programs
Charles R. Drew University has had an active presence in Angola for more than 10 years. The partnership between CDU and the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) is supported by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the US Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP).
The overarching goal is to prevent the spread of HIV among military personnel in Angola. The key components of this program currently include:
- HIV testing and linkage to care
- Prevention and awareness
- Treatment and support for HIV positive people
- Support for institutional capacity building
- Strategic Information (Behavioral Surveillance & HIV Seroprevalence, 2015)
Key strategies include:
- Expanding the Activists HIV prevention program and strengthen the capacity of the over 500 activists previously trained within the Angolan Armed Forces
- Developing voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) sites throughout Angola to deliver quality VCT services and effective HIV prevention to military personnel
- Providing training to improve HIV diagnosis, treatment and psychosocial support for HIV positive individuals
- Conducting quantitative and qualitative research on behavioral risk factors of HIV infection
- Promoting leadership support to know and recognize the threat posed by HIV/AIDS to national security
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most affected with HIV representing 70% of new infections occurring in the world and 67% of the total number of infected people live in this area.
HIV in this area is known to spread in the following ways:
- Heterosexual sex - 79.2
- Mother-to-child - 6%
- Blood contact - 0.5%.
Social determinants specific to the region which contribute are multiple partners, gender inequity, poverty, limited employment opportunities, limited educational resources and political wars( war related issues such as social displacement and trauma). Social consequences with contraction are painful death, stigma and discrimination, increased orphan population. The age groups most likely to be contract HIV are 18-45 in Angola.
Why the Military?
- Begin with military
- Captive audience
- Disciplined and well organized
- Well respected
- Extend to general population
- Military as agents of change
- Direct partnerships with local health institutions and universities/academic institutions
To provide technical assistance to the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) through different evidence-based methods and prospectives in order to strength their military HIV Prevention Program.
- Expanding VCT services
- Develop a written HIV/AIDS strategic plan
- Development and distribution of IEC material
- Promote HIV/AIDS education and awareness through media communication - radio studio
- Support community wide promotions and communications events - World AIDS Day and FAA HIV Day (Jornada)
- Conduct trainings for military personnel on diagnosis, treatment, care, psychological support, HIV data management, monitoring and evaluation of HIV programs, and activism ( peer education)
The Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) includes army, navy and air branches. The estimated number of military personnel is 100,000 who are distributed in bases of these three branches all over the country.
The Health Polices and Directives Division are defined at Health Division under umbrella of Joint Chief of Staff. Currently the FAA has 15 infirmaries, 22 VCT centers (9 sponsored by this project) and 6 treatment centers where the soldier is followed by a multidisciplinary team. The HIV prevalence in Angola (2.1%) is significantly lower than at border countries, which requires more intensive interventions at the borders on North, West and South regions.
The HIV prevalence in FAA is 3.2%, according to the latest study in 2011. The most infected male group is 30-34 years of age. The main risk factors are infrequent condom use, multiple partners, alcohol use and deployments for long periods.
CDU works primarily with policy-makers of the Health Division and secondly with health service providers in the field to address these challenges by providing technical support and guidance.
- >600 staff trained
- 9 VCT centers established
- Leadership support
- Country ownership ( FAA personnel as training facilitators)
- 2 BSS implemented
- Military HIV logo and slogan developed
- Annual Planning workshop
- Military Radio studio created and operational
- Radio programs four times/month
- IEC material produced in a yearly basis
- Regular Integrated supervisory visits - yearly
- Civil-Military Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS
- CDU participation in annual high level military meeting to provide leadership awareness on program performance, challenges, achievements and new goals.