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Filling the gaps with evidence that works

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the global epicentre of the HIV epidemic. While the region has made huge strides in improving access to treatment, HIV prevention is still lagging behind, especially within the most vulnerable groups in society.

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HIV response
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HIV response Our programme is intended to strengthen the HIV response throughout the eastern and southern Africa region by increasing access to appropriate HIV and sexual health services for adolescents, prisoners and LGBTI.

Whether it’s helping HIV-positive adolescents to reduce transmission in South Africa; better understanding the burden of sexually transmitted infections among men who have sex with men in Kenya; or trialling a ‘treatment as prevention’ strategy in correctional facilities in Zambia: the aim of our research is always to help policy makers turn evidence into action.

Myles Ritchie

EHPSA team leader

Evidence for HIV Prevention in Southern Africa (EHPSA) is a programme designed to support an effective and efficient HIV prevention response in eastern and southern Africa. The programme focuses on filling research gaps as well as evidence-based policymaking for three of the most vulnerable groups – adolescents; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI); and prisoners.

Key facts

  • EHPSA is four-year programme funded by UK aid, with additional funding from Sweden and Norway, and managed by Mott MacDonald.
  • We are supporting eight cutting edge research programmes and eight critical reviews on HIV prevention for adolescents, LGBTI and prisoners.
  • We are also supporting the process of getting new research evidence into country policies and programmes, and therefore improving HIV services for vulnerable groups.

Challenge

Despite the recent progress in treating the disease, there are still more new HIV infections every year than numbers of people being put on treatment. Vulnerable members of society, including adolescents, LGBTI people and prisoners are identified as key groups who are most at risk of HIV. In many countries, socio-legal barriers such as cultural taboos and criminalisation of same sex relationships have prevented comprehensive programming for these groups.

Solution

Having identified gaps in the HIV prevention research agenda for vulnerable groups, we commissioned leading research organisations to generate new evidence that will improve national and regional HIV prevention policy. A complementary ‘evidence into action’ (EiA) strategy supports policymakers to understand and make use of the evidence from research. Communications are central to the success of the programme, and so we have used symposiums, technical forums, plain English publications, website, newsletters and social media to help reach and inform our key audiences.

Value and benefits

Our programme is designed to strengthen the HIV response throughout the eastern and southern Africa region by increasing access to appropriate HIV and sexual health services for adolescents, prisoners and LGBTI. This will save lives and improve the health care for many people as well as reduce new HIV infections.

Find out more at: www.ehpsa.org.

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