Office of HIV/AIDS Blog

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As a key implementer of PEPFAR, the Office of HIV/AIDS (OHA) leads USAID’s efforts to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, working in close collaboration with Missions and other bureaus within the Agency. OHA’s mandate is to provide both technical support to the field and technical leadership within USAID, PEPFAR, and the global HIV/AIDS community. The OHA blog tells the story of how USAID demonstrates its leadership in advancing HIV epidemic control and sustainability, supporting country-led efforts for long-term sustainability and results, and applying science, technology, and innovation to support the implementation of cost-effective, cutting-edge, sustainable, and appropriately integrated HIV/AIDS interventions at scale.

Globally, gender-based violence and gender inequality impact HIV outcomes across key and priority populations and impede efforts to achieve sustained HIV epidemic control.

Ending Gender-Based Violence to End the HIV Epidemic

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence offers time for reflection, a call to action, and an opportunity for the global community to once again renew its commitment to ending gender-based violence. For USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS, it reminds us that our global strategy of advancing gender equity and equality and preventing and responding to gender-based violence in HIV prevention and treatment services remains essential as part of our efforts to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Champions for HIV prevention

Champions for HIV Prevention

Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development commemorates World AIDS Day. For nearly 20 years, USAID has played a critical role in fighting HIV, and since 2003 has been a leader in implementing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has helped over a dozen high disease burden countries stabilize or decrease their HIV epidemics. However, we know there is still work to be done, particularly with girls and young women. At a historic time when controlling the HIV epidemic is within reach, it is critical that our programs continue to effectively engage adolescent girls and young women in HIV prevention programming.

SWAGAA caseworkers Minenhle (l), Nokwanda (center), and Nomvula (r) support survivors of gender-based violence through counseling, ensuring clients receive necessary health services, navigating the legal system when reporting abusers, and more.

Addressing Gender-based Violence Through Sustainable Partnerships

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. The global theme for this year’s campaign is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls.” USAID is committed to helping to create a world free of gender-based violence so that everyone can participate fully—and safely—in society.

Jason Fraser (l), USAID Country Representative, presents The Spotlight Award to Dr. Geoffrey Barrow (r), Director Health Connect Jamaica, during the 2021 USAID Stakeholder Appreciation & Recognition Awards. Credit: Dr. Geoffrey Barrow

A new private sector healthcare model in Jamaica spurs innovation and supports the Ministry's national HIV epidemic control efforts

Public health systems are often overburdened with providing affordable, high-quality health services. For patients, this can mean longer wait times in uncomfortable settings and impersonal care. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, and for patients seeking HIV services, stigma and discrimination are additional barriers to receiving care.

Simplification user guide

Nudging Our Programs to Reach HIV Epidemic Control

The 2022 UNAIDS report In Danger raised the alarm that progress in HIV prevention and treatment is faltering despite significant gains and successes in many areas. Resources earmarked for epidemic control are under pressure around the world, and in some countries there are indications that infection rates are increasing where previously they were falling. To address these challenges Dr. John Nkengasong, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, is highlighting the importance of scientific innovations, including those in behavioral science, as critical to PEPFAR moving forward. As a key implementer of PEPFAR, USAID is committed to following the science and finding innovative ways to reach and sustain HIV epidemic control.

A member of the USAID ECAP program conducts a viral load test. Photo credit: Namonje Priscilla, Community Case Worker

Meeting clients where they are: USAID/Zambia’s Empowered Children and Adolescents Program

Zambia has made incredible progress in addressing the HIV epidemic since HIV first swept through the nation in the late 1980s. Zambia now has over one million people living with HIV on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and is close to achieving the significant milestone of HIV epidemic control. HIV epidemic control is defined as having reached the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target, meaning 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of people who know their status are accessing treatment, and 90 percent of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads. However, we also know that children, adolescents, and young people living with HIV still experience worse outcomes when compared to adults living with HIV. Globally, there are nearly two million children ages 0-14 that are living with HIV, but only 53 percent of these children are on treatment.

USAID invests in the design and testing of improved vaccine candidates, guided by African scientific leadership, to move the world closer to a globally-effective HIV vaccine.

A Quarter of a Century into the Search and Still Going Strong – Together

In keeping with Administrator Power’s recent challenge to all USAID staff to serve as global advocates and thought leaders for the localization agenda, this year USAID salutes the many African scientists, clinicians, lab and community engagement staff, and local communities who make HIV vaccine research possible on the African continent. Since 2001, USAID has supported international partners at the forefront of the global effort to design, develop, and test various candidate HIV vaccines, while progressively supporting African partners to take the lead.

Kumbirai speaking to an audience during the launch of the DREAMS program in Juba, on Dec 9, 2020.

Celebrating Social Workers and the People They Serve

Through my role as a social worker, I ensure that AGYW are enrolled in and meaningfully benefit from the PEPFAR DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe) partnership which includes the empowerment livelihoods for adolescents (ELA), life skills and economic strengthening package. The project supports and engages AGYW with risk and vulnerabilty factors such as being out of school or at a risk of dropping out, survivors of gender-based violence, multiple concurrent sexual partners, involvement in transactional sex, drug abuse, orphanhood, and a history of irregular or no condom use.

Data clerk entering pharmacy data into iDart in Sofala, Mozambique

Five ways that remote data quality assurance approaches can improve insights into the patient experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

The USAID managed and Palladium-led Data.FI project harnessed machine learning to develop an anomaly detection solution that allowed USAID teams to rapidly conduct remote reviews of PEPFAR reported aggregate facility-level data quality. Data.FI also developed a remote DQA to assess COVID-19 data, leveraging virtual communication tools and technology to review pandemic reported data. These innovations for data quality assurance can inform USAID’s ongoing and future emergency responses.

Priority predictors of private-sector health purchases in people living with HIV in South Africa

Announcing the Winners of the Innovative Data Methods for Market Segmentation of HIV Services Challenge

To achieve and sustain HIV epidemic control, we know that new approaches are needed. The Innovative Data Methods for Market Segmentation of HIV Services Challenge was launched to identify market segments of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) who are willing and able to pay for HIV services, to support PEPFAR in tailoring HIV treatment services and expand market diversification.

Limpho Nteko of mothers2mothers (m2m) visits a client at home in Mafeteng District, Lesotho, to ensure families receive vital health education and services, even during COVID-19. (2021)

Strategic Investments in the Health Workforce: Learning from Lesotho

COVID-19 highlighted the critical need for countries to make greater investments in their health workforce. This is no truer than in Lesotho, the small, mountainous country landlocked within South Africa, dealing with multiple epidemics. When COVID-19 struck, Lesotho had the second-highest number of people living with HIV per capita in the world.

Chadrack, a CAYA member from the DRC

Harnessing Partnership with Young Leaders to Drive Tailored and Responsive Programming: The Committee of African Youth Advisors

Recognizing the need and value of intentionally engaging adolescents and youth to develop effective HIV prevention programming, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) created the Committee of African Youth Advisors (CAYA) in 2018.

USAID Afya Endelevu  laboratory Scientist, Mr. Elias Mariki, processing HIV viral load samples in the PCR Laboratory at Ligula Regional Referral Hospital in Mtwara Region, Southern Tanzania.

Lessons for the Future: Adaptations of the health workforce for HIV service delivery in the era of COVID-19

This blog examines the role of the health workforce and lessons learned in maintaining HIV services during COVID-19, and how they are positively changing the landscape of HIV service delivery.

MSM client self-assessing their HIV risk using the USAID/PATH Healthy Market’s online risk calculator.

Lessons Learned from Telehealth Interventions in HIV Service Delivery Programs During The COVID-19 Pandemic

This move towards telehealth brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased access, flexibility, and efficiency for both clients and providers, and some of the innovations adopted over the last year and a half are likely to become permanent fixtures in HIV service delivery moving forward.

Dr. Elton examining a critically ill individual admitted for COVID-19.

Bringing Hope to Eswatini’s COVID-19 Frontline

Nestled among the rural rolling hills banking the Usuthu riverside in Eswatini sits a 200-acre property that hustles and bustles with activity. This campus serves as the hub of operations for The Luke Commission (TLC), USAID/Eswatini’s clinical local implementing partner.

 Advocates, ring researchers, and a PrEP ring user gathered in Lusaka, Zambia for an advocacy workshop in May 2021 to strategize and plan for ring introduction in the country.

Cross-country Learning Builds Momentum for a New HIV Prevention Product

Dapivirine vaginal ring (“PrEP ring”) advocates, Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) ring researchers, and a PrEP ring user convened at a May 2021 advocacy event in Lusaka, Zambia to share cross-country learnings and insights for introducing the PrEP ring as part of HIV prevention programming.

Illustration of market segmentation depicts HIV care and treatment icons, such as laboratory testing for viral load, access to antiretroviral drugs, and other forms of care at facilities. Image by Denise Todloski, Data.FI Project.

Launching an Innovative Data Methods Challenge!

We’re excited to announce that in partnership with data and analytics experts from the Data for Implementation (Data.FI) project, the Office of HIV/AIDS is launching a challenge to uncover innovative ways to identify novel consumer demographic data sources and approaches to market segmentation.


Advancing Gender Equality and Preventing & Responding to Gender-Based Violence to Achieve Sustained HIV Epidemic Control

When women receive inadequate or unequal access to health care, or when they are the victims of gender-based violence, they do not have the opportunity to understand their health or even make decisions about their health. Gender inequality and gender-based violence (GBV) are some of the most critical barriers to ending the HIV epidemic, which includes ensuring 95 percent of people living with HIV (PLHIV) know their HIV status, 95 percent of PLHIV who know their status are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 95 percent of PLHIV on ART are virally suppressed and therefore can’t transmit the virus.

Tebelopele Wellness Centers Executive Director, Marlene Nkete, meets with U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Craig Cloud.

USAID/Botswana’s Local Partner Transition: “Paramount to the country’s health agenda”

The transition to fund more local organizations is crucial for building long-term program impact and sustainability, is cost efficient, and is pivotal to reaching sustained HIV epidemic control. In 2018, former Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador, Deborah Birx, announced a goal to direct 70 percent of PEPFAR funding to local partners through direct awards by September 30, 2021. To achieve this goal, PEPFAR and USAID have steadily increased the delivery of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services by local partners and partner country governments. To date, USAID/PEPFAR has transitioned nearly $750 million (49%) of its annual budget to over 170 local organizations around the world.


In Their Own Words: Four of Nigeria’s Health Care Heroes Re-live a Year of COVID-19 Care

Through USAID support, these health care workers showcase how beyond every COVID-19 infection there is a life working to save lives. They represent the dedication health workers have shown over the past year, placing themselves at risk to keep their communities and families safe and to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Their stories are evidence of how important investing in health workers is during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

A Right to Care healthcare worker delivers a presentation in South Africa

Supporting Health Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Experience From the Frontlines in Continuing HIV Service Provision

All over the world, health workers have demonstrated their dedication to maintaining HIV services while combating COVID-19, seeking innovative means of continuing to support clients -- from the expansion of programs that give patients three to six months’ worth of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and creating more convenient options for drug pick-up, to the use of telehealth and virtual services to support prevention and support clients in continuing their treatment. For all these innovations, the health workforce has led the charge for safely maintaining access and reach to different HIV client populations.

Matshediso Mohoje is a social worker with USAID’s Government Capacity Building Support OVC program

A Walk in my Shoes: A Social Worker in South Africa Makes a Difference for Children Vulnerable to HIV

On this World Social Work Day (March 16), and during the Year of the Health and Care Worker, USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS celebrates the brave men and women like Matshediso who dedicate their lives to helping others. Across the globe, thousands of social workers serve children and families through the OVC program, funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Social workers are an invaluable part of the work that is done by USAID’s OVC programs. Comprehensive case management program staff support children and families affected and infected by HIV by providing services in the areas of health, safety, stability, and schooling. Social workers wear many hats including: advocate, case manager, counselor, navigator, educator, and mentor. They engage in assessments, case planning, services delivery/referrals, and act as a constant support for families and communities.

AGYW DREAMS beneficiaries gathering outside for a meeting at a mobile Safe Space meeting in Kanyakwar village in Kisumu, Kenya, with universal masking and physical distancing observed during the meeting.

The Importance of Choice: HIV Prevention for Women

Over the last 20 years, the world has made exceptional progress in offering comprehensive HIV prevention services. From innovative approaches to making condoms accessible, to increasing coverage of treatment regimens and increasing the provision of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those at substantial risk, the global health community has helped turn the tide on HIV. Such programming has resulted in reduced incidence and prevalence among vulnerable populations.

Data.FI organized a training of trainers workshop on the new functionalities and use of upgraded OVC and DREAMS databases in Cote d’Ivoire. Participants came from social centers, the National OVC Program, and a PEPFAR implementing partner.

Using Data to Improve HIV Cascade Outcomes

In 2019, Data.FI ― a PEPFAR-supported, USAID-managed global consortium ― developed an Epidemic Control Room (ECR) model in Nigeria, sparked by the need to improve the use of high-frequency data and build on PEPFAR successes in actionable data reviews, such as root cause analyses.

Aynete Afa and daughter Mignot Abebe, both enrolled in USAID’s OVC programs sitting by their home in Arbaminch town of SNNPR, Ethiopia Photo Credit: Befikadu Dawit, HIV/Health Linkage Coordinator for FHI360 based in Arbaminch, SNNPR.

Multi-Monthly Dispensing (MMD) for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) ensured program continuity during COVID-19

USAID/Ethiopia’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program has achieved significant success in preventing and responding to HIV among children. Programs for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV (OVC) help HIV-positive children and adolescents begin and maintain treatment and improve viral suppression -- a key component of decreasing transmission.

Two DREAMS Ambassadors hold a sign to raise awareness about the rising issue of GBV in their community due to COVID-19 lockdowns. / FHI360, Zimbabwe

Fighting Gender-based Violence during COVID-19: A success story in Zimbabwe

USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS work supports adolescent girls and young women by ensuring they receive the support they need to be healthy and safe through the DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) partnership.

Villagers in Thotho watch as the drone flies overhead. / Ryan Triche, GHSC-PSM

Propelling Change

In Malawi, drones prove successful in delivering health commodities to remote areas.

Photo of three young women participating in the induction Newly recruited health workers participate in induction in Malawi before deploying to health facilities for service. Photo credit: HRH2030

Building the Health Workforce in Malawi

Health workers are often the unsung heroes in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but many countries face a significant shortage. Discover how USAID is partnering with the Government of Malawi to help strengthen the health workforce to improve HIV services.

HIV Advocates Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis” graphic

HIV Advocates Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis
By Daisy Ouya, AVAC Communications Advisor, on behalf of the Coalition to Accelerate and Support Prevention Research (CASPR)

The COVID-19 pandemic demands that everyone apply their skills, resources and networks to empower communities and ease collective suffering.

AVAC Report 2019 Asks “Now What?” graphic

AVAC Report 2019 Asks “Now What?”: A look at the highlights
By Breanne Lesnar, MPH, and Stacey Hannah, MHS, on December 18, 2019

Every year our communities commemorate World AIDS Day (WAD) on December 1st, but this WAD carries special weight.

The young scientists named the microscope placed at KAVI-ICR

What does Self-Reliance look like on the way to an HIV Vaccine?
By Thomas J. Hope, PhD, and Ann Marie Carias, PhD, on June 2, 2019

On May 18th, the world marks the 21st World AIDS Vaccine Day—a day that serves as an annual reminder of the urgent need for an HIV vaccine.

A researcher trains lab technicians in Uganda.

Paving the Way for African Scientists to Spearhead HIV Vaccine Development
By Jill Gilmour, PhD, and Daniel Ochiel, PhD, on January 30, 2019

Discover how the USAID-supported Vaccine Immunology Science and Technology for Africa (VISTA) consortium utilizes scientific talent in Africa to bring us closer to an effective HIV vaccine.

HIV Vaccine Researcher in Kilifi, Kenya.

HIV Vaccines Garner Support from the Faith Community in Kayole, Kenya
By Ethel Makila on January 30, 2019

Learn how USAID and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) are working with the faith-based community to inform the research and development for an HIV vaccine.

Last updated: December 06, 2022

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