World AIDS Day 2015

On World AIDS Day 2015, observed on December 1, the National AIDS Trust is encouraging everyone to challenge myths and rethink stereotypes about HIV, among other activities.

Abt JTA’s contributions to HIV-reduction efforts are multifaceted: We improve HIV-related service delivery in the Asia Pacific, advance knowledge about HIV detection and care and get involved locally in efforts to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.

Papua New Guinea is marking World AIDS Day on 1 December with a number of events focusing on raising awareness and discussion on HIV. While PNG has a moderate national HIV prevalence of 0.65%, certain groups face much greater risk of contracting the virus and of being discriminated against in accessing preventative, support and treatment services. A Port Moresby-based study by the PNG Institute for Medical Research (2013) found levels of HIV among female sex workers and transgenders who exchange sex at 19% and 24% respectively. These groups face significant discrimination due to both the legislative environment (sex work and male same-sex sexual activity are illegal) and social taboos (in one study in Simbu and the Western Highlands 41% of people living with HIV reported they had been denied health services because of their HIV status (Igat Hope and UNSW, 2013).

The Australian Government through the Health and HIV Implementation Services Provider (HHISP) are supporting a wide range of initiatives to improve access to the quality of and demand for health services for people living with HIV. This includes supporting civil society organisations advocating for the rights of people at-risk of and living with HIV – such as Kapul Champions, the country’s first and only national organisation for men who have sex with men and transgender people – and programs delivering preventative and treatment services – such as condom distribution, health promotion, and anti-retroviral therapy.

As part of this years events, staff in our Papua New Guinea office participated in the World AIDS Day walk in Port Moresby.

Abt Associates: Partnering with Governments, Private Sector on HIV

Globally, Abt Associates also partners with governments, civil society organizations, the private health sector, and others to create national HIV strategies and budgets and strengthen health systems around the world so that people living with HIV can access quality health care and services.

Abt led the Clinical HIV/AIDS Services Strengthening Project in Sofala, Manica, and Tete (CHASS-SMT) from 2011 to 2015, which greatly increased access to HIV services. The project built the capacity of local health systems in Sofala, Manica, and Tete Provinces to provide quality HIV and AIDS services. For example, the number of people receiving HIV testing in these provinces reached 230,000 in 2015, a ten-fold increase since 2012. This was possible in part because 127 new sites offer HIV treatment.

Abt Associates is one of eight firms implementing the global Strengthening High Impact Interventions for an AIDS-free Generation (AIDSFree) project, a five-year effort that began in 2014 and is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The project, led by JSI Research & Training Institute, is working to expand access to Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision in Namibia and access to HIV treatment for children through the private sector.

The Abt-led Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Project has initiated a variety of efforts in HIV and AIDS with a focus on increasing country ownership and sustainability of the HIV response by supporting evidence-based approaches in private sector service delivery and more effective use of local resources.