While these figures are nearly a decade old, they represent ongoing attitudes in communities where we work to ensure both that there is equity for people living with HIV, and that there are adequate resources available to men and women (especially adolescents) so that they can stay healthy and safe.
In addition to fostering equity and addressing risks among key populations at risk for HIV (including sex workers, intravenus drug users, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and incarcerated people), leading with community has proven to be key to addressing the AIDS crisis in many of its facets.
In Burundi, for example, Concern's work with the Graduation model has included sensitising community members around HIV and AIDS by improving their knowledge of the disease and prevention methods, as well as their attitudes towards people affected by it. Programme participants in the city of Cibitoke saw a positive impact of the programme in terms of voluntary HIV testing and the use of methods to prevent AIDS. We’ve incorporated similar messaging and initiatives into our Graduation programming in Malawi.
In Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, we’ve employed community drama and ‘Community Conversation’ approaches to support HIV education and social and behavioural changes in responses to HIV and AIDS. Working with local partners and governments, we found that a holistic approach that focused on individual strengths created a whole greater than the sum of its parts, reflected in dramas that focused on HIV transmission, prevention, risky behaviours, the importance of voluntary and confidential counselling and testing, and the negative impact of stigma and discrimination. Testing services were offered immediately afterwards, with partners facilitating access to counselling services and antiretroviral treatment.