Under the auspices of RZHRG, the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project (ZEHRP) has provided Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing (CVCT) services in Zambia since 1994. Support from PATH, an international non-profit organization based in Canada, is allowing ZEHRP to expand CVCT services into the Copperbelt region of Zambia. According to a 2010 UNAIDS report, nearly 76,000 adults were newly infected with HIV in Zambia in 2009, an equivalent of 200 new infections daily. The Copperbelt region has been particularly hard hit by the AIDS epidemic, and expanding CVCT services has the potential to prevent thousands of new HIV infections.
This expansion project will be accomplished through meeting key objectives. The first objective is to support increased advocacy by policymakers to mobilize human and other resources in relation to CVCT activities. Evidence shows that collaborative efforts between government leaders, public and private healthcare providers, and community leaders are most successful in building support for CVCT.
The PATH Expansion will allow ZEHRP staff to train and educate personnel from select Copperbelt clinics, providing training programs and tools to integrate CVCT into new and existing HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Using a comprehensive curriculum, providers in the Copperbelt region will work with ZEHRP to develop promotions managers, counselors, laboratory staff, and data managers skilled in the integration and sustainable management of CVCT. ZEHRP staff will provide technical support to the targeted clinics with newly trained staff to develop detailed rollout plans to ensure that CVCT is sustainably integrated into healthcare resources. The CVCT rollout will establish CVCT programs in 60 clinics and reach 56,000 couples over a two-and-a-half year period. Additionally, we will measure seroincidence in discordant couples, both M+F- and M-F+, as well as in a subset of M-F- couples. Incidence rates will be compared to those observed in research cohorts from Ndola and Lusaka, and to historical rates published in the literature.
DID YOU KNOW...
• Approximately 25 million Africans are HIV+ and 225 million adults are HIV- and married, at risk of acquiring HIV within their marriages.
•The U.S. government spends $2.2 billion annually – 10 percent of the entire U.S. bilateral foreign aid budget -- to provide antiretroviral therapy to 3 million Africans.
•Treating one ART patient over the course of 10 years costs about $7000.
•The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that five new people are infected by HIV for every two who receive antiretroviral therapy (ART).