Eastern and Southern Africa

Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free: Final report on 2020 targets

In the global quest to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, meeting the HIV-related needs of children, adolescents and pregnant and breastfeeding women represents a critical piece of unfinished business. To inject a sense of urgency in to global efforts to end the epidemic among children, adolescents and young women, global partners joined together in 2015 to launch the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free framework. Unveiled as the global community was embracing a series of 2020 targets intended to Fast-Track the HIV response, Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free called for a super-Fast-Track approach to end AIDS as a public health threat among children, adolescents and young women by 2020.

Since the deadline for achieving the targets passed in December 2020, this is the final Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free progress report. Although the targets were global, partners identified 23 countries for intensified focus under the framework. This report specifically highlights progress against the targets in focus countries. The only focus countries outside sub-Saharan Africa (India and Indonesia) do not report data on Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free targets and are not covered in this report. 

HIV Treatment, Care, and Support for Adolescents Living with HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa: A review of interventions for scale

Adolescents in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) are key to achieving the global goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. ESA is home to 1.74 million adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV), representing 60 per cent of this population globally. In 12 ESA countries, AIDS is the leading cause of adolescent mortality. While there is an increasing focus on adolescents, the pace of progress remains slow, especially when compared with the growing needs of ALHIV.

It is time to deliver programmes at scale to address the needs of ALHIV, accelerating evidence of interventions producing results or showing significant promise for scale. This document examines and consolidates the current experiences of ALHIV programming in the region to support further implementation and scale-up of evidence-driven models. The findings serve as a call to action and the key considerations as a guide for governments and funding and implementing partners in scaling up service delivery to ALHIV.

Understanding and Improving Viral Load Suppression in Children with HIV In Eastern and Southern Africa

In 2019 it was estimated that 1.2 million children (0-14) were living with HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa, yet more than a half million of these children (504,000) were not receiving lifesaving treatment. Children with HIV need to achieve viral load suppression if they are to lead long and healthy lives. Population-based surveys in Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe found that children on treatment fare worse in achieving viral load suppression compared to adults; 42 per cent vs 67 per cent, 39 per cent vs 84 per cent and 47 per cent vs 86 per cent respectively. Ending AIDS will not be possible without accelerating progress for children.

UNICEF, in collaboration with governments and partners, supported a mixed method study that included literature review, assessment of laboratory data in Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe and interviews with health workers and caregivers in Malawi to find out what is behind these low rates. The study found that one out of every three children who had a viral load test had not achieved viral load suppression. Support networks for caregivers and children improved adherence and made a difference towards outcome. The full report describes the methodology, key findings, challenges and proposes concrete recommendations to improve treatment outcomes for children with HIV. The accompanying advocacy brief summarizes the key findings and provides action-oriented next steps

Integrating peer support into service delivery: A good practice guide

This guide developed by Pediatric-Adolescent Treatment Africa (PATA) draws on lessons learned on integrating peer support strategies across several programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. It has been designed as an informative resource for the integration of peer support into HIV models of care for adolescents and young people in facility- and community-based settings. This toolkit is aimed primarily at health providers, specifically health facility managers and organizations engagement peer support programmes to strengthen health care.