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1.
Gates Open Research ; 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1835894

ABSTRACT

Background: Though substantial progress has helped curb the HIV epidemic, high rates of new HIV infections persist among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting critical gaps in reaching them with integrated HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The scale-up of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and multiple novel HIV prevention products on the horizon offer countries a unique opportunity to expand innovative approaches to deliver comprehensive, integrated HIV prevention/SRH services. Methods: This article comparatively analyzes findings from rapid assessments in Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe across key themes to highlight cross-country trends and contextual realities around HIV prevention/SRH integration, with a focus on oral PrEP and contraception. In Kenya and Zimbabwe, assessments were completed by Ministries of Health (MOH) and the HIV Prevention Market Manager and include 20 health facility assessments, 73 key informant interviews (KIIs) and six community dialogues. In Malawi, the assessment was completed by the MOH and Georgetown University Center for Innovation in Global Health and includes 70 KIIs and a review of national policies and program implementation in Blantyre. Findings were contextualized through a review of literature and policies in each country. Results: Across countries, the policy environment is conducive to HIV prevention/SRH integration, though operationalization presents ongoing challenges, with most policies preceding and not accounting for oral PrEP rollout. National coordination mechanisms, youth-friendly health services and prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs are promising practices, while siloed and resource-constrained health systems, limited provider capacity, underfunded demand generation and structural factors exacerbate barriers to achieving integration. Conclusions: As new HIV prevention products are introduced, demand for integrated HIV prevention/SRH services is likely to grow. Investing in HIV prevention/SRH integration can help to ensure a sustainable response to the HIV epidemic, streamline service delivery and improve the health outcomes and lives of AGYW.

2.
Glob Health Action ; 15(1): 2029335, 2022 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758547

ABSTRACT

The HIV pandemic has long revealed the inequities and fault lines in societies, one of the most tenacious being the pandemic's disproportionate impact on adolescent girls and young women. In east and southern Africa, renewed global action is needed to invigorate an effective yet undervalued approach to expanding HIV prevention and improving women's health: integration of quality HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The urgency of advancing effective integration of these services has never been clearer or more pressing. In this piece, national health officials from Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe and global health professionals have joined together in a call to catalyze actions by development partners in support of national strategies to integrate HIV and SRH information and services. This agenda is especially vital now because these adolescent girls and young women are falling through the cracks due to the cascading effects of COVID-19 and disruptions in both SRH and HIV services. In addition, the scale-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been anemic for this population. Examining the opportunities and challenges of HIV/SRH integration implemented recently in three countries - Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe - provides lessons to spur integration and investments there and in other nations in the region, aimed at improving health outcomes for adolescent girls and young women and curbing the global HIV epidemic. While gaps remain between strong national integration policies and program implementation, the experiences of these countries show opportunities for expanded, quality integration. This commentary draws on a longer comparative analysis of findings from rapid landscaping analyses in Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, which highlighted cross-country trends and context-specific realities around HIV/SRH integration.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Adolescent , Female , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Kenya/epidemiology , Malawi/epidemiology , Zimbabwe/epidemiology
3.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 6: e25813, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487490

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Sisters with a Voice (Sisters), a programme providing community-led differentiated HIV prevention and treatment services, including condoms, HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy linkage for sex workers, reached over 26,000 female sex workers (FSW) across Zimbabwe in 2020. Zimbabwe's initial Covid "lockdown" in March 2020 and associated movement restrictions interrupted clinical service provision for 6 weeks, particularly in mobile clinics, triggering the adaptation of services for the Covid-19 context and a scale up of differentiated service delivery (DSD) models. PrEP service delivery decentralized with shifts from clinical settings towards community/home-based, peer-led PrEP services to expand and maintain access. We hypothesize that peer-led community-based provision of PrEP services influenced both demand and supply-side determinants of PrEP uptake. We observed the effect of these adaptations on PrEP uptake among FSW accessing services in Sisters in 2020. METHODS: New FSW PrEP initiations throughout 2020 were tracked by analysing routine Sisters programme data and comparing it with national PrEP initiation data for 2020. We mapped PrEP uptake among all negative FSW attending services in Sisters alongside Covid-19 adaptations and shifts in the operating environment throughout 2020: prior to lockdown (January-March 2020), during severe restrictions (April-June 2020), subsequent easing (July-September 2020) and during drug stockouts that followed (October-December 2020). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: PrEP uptake in 2020 occurred at rates <25% (315 initiations or fewer) per month prior to the emergence of Covid-19. In response to Covid-19 restrictions, DSD models were scaled up in April 2020, including peer demand creation, community-based delivery, multi-month dispensing and the use of virtual platforms for appointment scheduling and post-PrEP initiation support. Beginning May 2020, PrEP uptake increased monthly, peaking at an initiation rate of 51% (n = 1360) in September 2020. Unexpected rise in demand coincided with national commodity shortages between October and December 2020, resulting in restriction of new initiations with sites prioritizing refills. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the impact of Covid-19 on the Sisters Programme and FSW mobility, DSD adaptations led to a large increase in PrEP initiations compared to pre-Covid levels demonstrating that a peer-led, community-based PrEP service delivery model is effective and can be adopted for long-term use.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents , COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Sex Workers , Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , Communicable Disease Control , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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