Jhpiego’s intrepid approach to reaching the most vulnerable people with quality health services that change lives is exemplified in the HIV prevention and treatment programs in Tanzania and Kenya. To date, successful scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision programs in 11 countries has resulted in more than 2 million procedures.
Providing the technical know-how and program strategies to serve hard-to-reach populations at risk for HIV is an area of Jhpiego’s expertise.
Whether an adolescent girl in Tanzania or a sex worker in Kenya, the focus is reaching women and men who are at highest risk of contracting the disease and who gain tremendous health benefits from HIV counseling, testing and treatment. As part of Jhpiego’s contributions to building an AIDS-free generation and continuing global achievements to reduce HIV deaths in eastern and southern Africa, the Sauti project in Tanzania and the Bridge to Scale project in Kenya reflect our commitment to countries to leave no one behind—regardless of sexual orientation or occupation.
UNAIDS has set the following targets to be achieved by 2020:
- 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status;
- 90 percent with the virus are on medication; and
- 90 percent of those are virally suppressed.
Substantial gains have been made in reaching these targets. And there has been a notable reduction in the number of deaths—the most recent UNAIDS report shows a 42 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in southern and eastern Africa.
But unfortunately, youth in Africa—especially female teenagers and girls—are not fully sharing in this progress. In high-prevalence areas, young women are at significant risk of HIV infection. UNAIDS data reflect this: Young women accounted for 59 percent of new HIV infections among people ages 15 to 24 in 2016. Key and vulnerable groups remain unreached and are at the edges of care.
The Sauti project, in partnership with the government of Tanzania, focuses on those frequently overlooked and connects them to HIV counselors and a range of health services, setting them on a course to build healthy, productive lives. More than 20,000 young women and adolescents have received HIV counseling and testing services since 2015.
In Kenya, Bridge to Scale is the first large-scale effort to offer oral pre-exposure prophylaxis—a daily dose of an antiretroviral pill—to highly vulnerable individuals to reduce their chances of contracting the virus. Known as PrEP, this HIV prevention strategy is likened to the birth control pill as a daily prevention medication that is highly effective when taken as directed. The goal of the project is to reach 20,000 Kenyans, including adolescent girls, young women and sex workers, who face barriers to HIV prevention and treatment services because of stigma and social attitudes. The project is also conducting research to develop the evidence base to inform future expansion. In 2016, the project worked with national media to raise awareness and build demand for this daily prevention pill.