|A proud mother holds her happy, healthy baby after completing a therapeutic feeding program.
(Photo: Valid Nutrition/Zambia)
The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to have a profound impact on Zambia, affecting development, slowing economic growth, and destroying the basic family network. There remains an urgent need for an integrated response from all sectors of society, the Government of Zambia, faith-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and the donor community. USAID’s response reflects the complex nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is Zambia’s largest HIV/AIDS funding source, supporting critical HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs. USAID manages the majority of PEPFAR money in Zambia, funding programs that work with various partners to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS through a coordinated response. USAID support strengthens the Zambian Government’s efforts to improve the capacity for planning, managing, and implementing the national HIV/AIDS response by government ministries, the National AIDS/STI/TB Council, and civil society organisations. USAID’s HIV/AIDS programs help to:
HIV/AIDS prevention is a major focus of USAID. USAID provides outreach activities to youth, mobile populations, and migrant workers. They also target people with multiple concurrent sexual partners, commercial sex workers, and prisoners. Activities focus on changing behavior and social norms, including education, using messages and materials that are appropriate for the age and culture of the targeted population. USAID supports procurement and distribution of condoms at workplaces, border crossings, and along transit corridors. USAID programs promote abstinence among unmarried youth. Among sexually active adults, programs promote reducing the number of partners, and being faithful to one partner, while addressing issues of condom use and how alcohol abuse affects the spread of HIV. HIV prevention messages are included in hospital treatment and care services for victims of sexual violence. Other efforts aim to eliminate sexual practices that drive the epidemic such as sex between older men and younger women and sex in exchange for goods and services.
USAID supports home and community-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS and links them to clinical/medical care. Programs have trained caregivers at different levels to provide care as well as psychological, spiritual, food and nutrition support, and support for income generation opportunities.
The number of children made vulnerable or orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS continues to increase, with roughly 10% of Zambia’s total population orphaned. Complementing the efforts of the Zambian Government, USAID supports a number of services for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) both on the street and in communities. USAID supports the provision of educational, psychological, food and nutrition, shelter, and child protection services. In an effort to make OVC households self supportive, the program links vulnerable youths and heads of vulnerable households to income generating activities.
In addition, USAID works with the private sector to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in the agricultural, mining, and tourism sectors. Through this support, private businesses are developing and providing comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to employees and their families. USAID also works with government ministries to improve access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services through programs in the workplace for employees, their dependants, and surrounding communities.
USAID supports efforts to improve laws and policies to ensure that people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS are provided with key services and are protected. USAID works to break down stigmas and stereotypes associated with HIV/AIDS among traditional, religious, youth, and other opinion leaders.
Gender inequalities in social and economic status increase women’s vulnerability to HIV. The USAID HIV/AIDS program focuses on gender issues and supports the integration of gender in all HIV/AIDS programs. USAID supported programs focus on addressing gender-based violence by creating awareness of the problem, providing care and support for survivors of gender-based violence, and training law enforcement officers in managing gender-based violence cases.