HIPACY - HIV Prevention and Care for the Youth
The comprehensive prevention program started as a Youth program targeting young people in the Mukuru slums in 2004. It has now grown to a comprehensive and nationwide program that continues to reach youth, most at risk populations and other underserved communities using various prevention strategies. The program design addresses the behavioural determinants of health to improve on interventions so as to improve the target population’s health seeking behaviours.
To achieve this goal, the program works under four strategic objectives:
a) Increasing access to HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC)
- Moonlight HTC: HOPE worldwide Kenya (HWWK) is the pioneer of an innovative program that ensures vulnerable populations get to know their HIV status. The Moonlight Voluntary Counseling and Testing began in 2005 and has evolved to become a signature intervention. The service is provided to the night populations by adjusting service hours. Our experience shows that the night services reach more clients than any other approach.
- Static Sites: The services are provided at the youth Centers which are part of the wider Centers of HOPE.
- Community Mobile HTC: The program recognizes that there is a poor health seeking behavior, more so when the clients have to walk long distance to access the service delivery point. We make it easier for families and individuals to access testing services to the nearest points hence increased affordability and enhanced accessibility.
- Door-to-Door HTC: This service aims at providing opportunities to households within selected communities to know their HIV status as well as reinforce prevention education.
- Workplace HTC: HWWK has expanded on this demand-driven exercise based on the evidence that employees are eager to know their status but hindered by time.
b) Abstinence and Being Faithful
The young people have been identified as the future of the nation. The burden of HIV/AIDS and other Reproductive Health Issues has a huge impact on the youth.
HWWK implements the following strategies in order to build their capacity:
- Peer Education, Participatory Educative Theatre and Outreaches
- Youth-Adult Partnership: Community Leaders Forums and Parent-Youth Forums
- Livelihood opportunity: Entrepreneurship and Partnerships
c) Condom Promotion and Other Preventions
The high transmission areas and most-at-risk populations are targeted on condom promotion and other preventions.
HWWK also aims at decreasing risk based on gender inequalities, care and support, and parent/youth communication. It facilitates dialogue and communication among participants and encourages them to be the agents of change in their communities.
The strategies implemented include:
- High Transmission Areas: HWWK has created a unique niche in reaching the underserved and most-at-risk populations. Female sex workers, truckers, bar hostesses and deejays (DJs) are trained in Peer Education (PE) and Men As Partners (MAP), and mentored to conduct night outreaches.
The counseling and testing services, condom use demonstrations and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI) services are provided during the night outreaches. Individuals and groups are equipped with skills to reduce vulnerability and risks.
- Workplace Program: HWWK works with multinational, national and small & medium enterprises to institutionalize HIV prevention programs.
- Men As Partners (MAP): This focuses on increasing awareness of gender biases, domestic violence, rape, drug and alcohol abuse, and crime.
- Comprehensive Youth Friendly Centers. The Centers of HOPE provide friendly settings for young people and general population to access health information and services, livelihood skills and recreational facilities.
- Prevention with Positives: It refers to prevention efforts that support HIV infected persons to reduce their risk of HIV transmission. HIV testing, supporting disclosure,HIV testing, supporting disclosure, partner counseling and testing, referrals for anti-retroviral therapy (ART), behavioral interventions, prevention of unintended pregnancies, universal access to Prevention of Mother to Child Transmissions (PMTCT), STI screening and treatment, and promotion of leadership by HIV positive individuals activities are provided.
- Development of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Material/Mass Media: Appropriate, audience segmented IEC materials are produced for targeted messages.
Davinchy bounces up the small stage holding a microphone. He is the Master of Ceremonies for an event - a talent show for young people in Kitengela, Kenya. Before the event ends, he will have passed information about the importance of VCT, the risks of multiple partners, and the dangers of drug use, along with other healthy living information. Apart from being an MC for events he is also an actor and loves it. He is realizing his dreams.
Davinchy’s real name is Kelvin Mwendwa Kithua and he has not always loved his life. He started peddling bhang when he was in high school in Kitengela and continued the trade after he finished school. In 2007 he visited the Youth Resource Centre at the Kitengela Centre of HOPE with the aim of selling drugs to the youth at the site. Activities in the centre aim at educating the youth about taking responsibility for their health and their life. The Centre located in Kitengela Township started operating in August 2007 and was officially launched in June 2008. It is supported by the Wal-Mart Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When Davinchy visited the centre he could not sell drugs there and got interested in what was being offered. Being charismatic and influential he was identified as a potential peer educator and in 2008 was trained by HWWK as a peer educator. Since then he has made it his personal mission to campaign against drug abuse. In the same year he trained in micro-entrepreneurship and started earning a living as a Master of Ceremonies for events. When he’s not being an MC he volunteers at the Kitengela Centre of HOPE.
In 2009, he wrote the following letter to HWWK:
The times with HWWK back in 2007 is what has made me who I am today. Back in the days I was a bhang peddler since school, people feared me because I was not the kind of person I used to be before I started using drugs. When I first saw the Centre, I knew it was a place that youth came to interact. So to me I knew I had won the battle, in my mind I was just counting how many rolls of bhang I was going to sell in a day in the particular place. Tip, wrong thought. I came to meet Mac-deck who introduced me to the services at the centre.
I was a kind of person that could attract people into doing something. We were trained in Peer Education and Magnet Theatre; we really gave a nice shot to Kitengela residents on condom use, importance of VCT and being faithful to one uninfected partner. Days turned into weeks, weeks into month. More training, more information and getting more skills.
Now it’s 2009 and I am so grateful of HWWK still volunteering with HOPE. Currently I am an Actor and a Master of Ceremonies. I pass information on safer sex practices during my activities e.g. weddings, house parties, road shows, concerts and talent shows. I have a life to be proud of...”