At this week’s research meeting Musonda Musonda (above), Head of CIDRZ Community Programmes, presented the end of Fiscal Year 2015 update on the PEPFAR/CDC-funded Community COMPACT programme.
This COMPACT community-led HIV prevention programme aims to increase individuals and couples who know their HIV status and receive information and services that will help avert new infections in urban Kanyama Compound, Lusaka Province and rural Kalabo District, Western Province, Zambia.
Community COMPACT is unique because the community itself determines it HIV prevention strategy, receives the required training to enact the plan, and then carries out the work. Here are some highlights of this year’s accomplishments:
- Through door-to-door VCT drives and facility-based HIV counselling and testing 79,816 individuals in these 2 communities now know their HIV status. Those found positive have received Prevention with Positives messaging and also have been referred to relevant services at health facilities and are encouraged to start anti-retroviral (ART) treatment regardless of their CD4 T-cell count.
- Community volunteers received training in Couples Counselling and reached out to peers to provide testing and counselling in a model that is especially effective if the testing couple are found with discordant HIV results. In Kanyama, couple counsellors have also reached out to those in church fellowships and mosques. In Kalabo, 50 couple counsellors reach out to those in remote rural areas, and formation of Couples Clubs enables couples to support and encourage each other in adherence to treatment.
- Fifty COMPACT volunteers in Kanyama have also received training in Key Populations Counselling that has enabled them to reach out and provide HIV testing and counselling, condoms, and prevention and treatment messaging to commercial sex workers and other vulnerable target populations.
An integral part of COMPACT is to ensure that the community knows about and accesses other health services available to them such as cervical cancer screening, family planning and medical male circumcision.