HIV prevention refers to measures undertaken by individuals to protect their own health and the health of those in their communities, and supported by public health policies. In the early stages of the global AIDS epidemic, it was known that HIV was transmitted sexually, thus the first HIV prevention programmes attempted to promote behavioural change such as ABC (Abstinence, Being Faithful, Condoms). However, over time the complex nature of HIV epidemic has been recognized, and prevention strategies have been adapted to encompass a holistic prevention approach with many different interventions tailored to fit local contexts and the circumstances of the affected populations.
Given that 90% of the world’s HIV infections occur in developing countries, it is clear that social, economic and political structures drive risk behaviors and shape vulnerability to infection. Therefore HIV interventions must also deal with deeply rooted and long-term socio-economic issues such as poverty, gender inequality and social marginalization. By successfully addressing these structural barriers, individuals are empowered and able to access HIV prevention services.
In generalized epidemics such as Kenya, prevention interventions must aim not only on preventing HIV in the general population but also specifically focus on reducing new infections among populations identified to be at higher risk such as men who have sex with men, female sex workers and discordant couples. The Kenya Revolution roadmap identifies these target populations and geographic regions with highest HIV burden for targeting with innovative combination interventions in order to reduce new infections to zero by the year 2030.
LVCT Health provides packages of combined biomedical, behavioural and structural HIV prevention interventions to populations at the greatest risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV. Packages for some of the populations we target with combination prevention include HIV testing and counseling, Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), Gender based violence (GBV) services, Screening and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and Anti-retroviral therapy (ART). In addition, LVCT Health and partners will in the year 2015 introduce Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Female Sex workers (FSW) and Young Women at risk of HIV acquisition.
One of LVCT Health’s core roles is to help to inform the policy and programming environment within which HIV/AIDS and wider sexual reproductive health issues can be tackled. LVCT Health staff were members of a the core technical writing team tasked with the development of the Kenya’s HIV Prevention Revolution Roadmap, an ambitious strategy document that aims to achieve an end to new infections in Kenya by the year 2030. LVCT Health has embarked on advocacy and technical assistance across various sectors including national and county governments, civil society, faith-based and others to ensure that the prevention roadmap is implemented.