HIV Work

Lyn has been involved in HIV work since 2003 - mostly in the NPO and faith-based spaces. HIV cannot be seen in isolation and often intersects with other social justice issues such as inequality, gender, poverty, mental illness and disability, etc. She continues to consult to various organisations dealing with HIV in the local and global arena: 
 
After more than 35 years, it is easy to think that the HIV epidemic is no longer a problem. In general communication, we have increasingly heard about "the end of AIDS". The global HIV response set ambitious targets for 2020 and 2030 - dreaming of a time when HIV is no longer a public health threat and where AIDS no longer causes devastation.

Although there has been dramatic breakthroughs in treatment and prevention, we are far from reaching our targets.

Sadly many previously active and successful faith-based HIV programmes have been discontinued. They can be many reasons for this: Lack of finance, lack of information about the actual effect of the epidemic, many other challenges competing for time, resources, and focus, and maybe even apathy.

We hear over and over that that stigma remains one of the most significant barriers to access to many of the new developments. Stigma prevents people from testing, from accessing treatment care and support, prevents communities from playing their role in addressing the challenges of HIV, and sadly also prevents faith communities from playing the role they could and should.

There has been a new and increased call for faith communities to again step up and become involved. Although many of the needed actions and responses remain unchanged, the changing nature of the epidemic also calls on us as people of faith to think anew about how we will be responding. 

In this section of the website, I will highlight different activities and programs in which I am involved, and share resources.

HIV Advocacy Campaign

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We dream of healthy children - everywhere!      

Lyn is involved in HIV Advocacy with a specific focus on South Africa, through the World Council of Churches - Ecumenical Advocacy Campaign.

We would like to invite churches, schools, and faith leaders across South Africa to be part of this initiative. As people of faith, we are compelled to speak out against injustice and to make a difference in society. We will continue to add information to this page, and invite your input and participation. If you are interested in being part of this contact Lyn at lyn@vanrooyen.info

Advocacy for Children and Adolescents

Children's Letterwriting Campaign

Champions for Children

Dialogues between Youth and Faith Leaders

Common Voice
1. Advocacy for Children and Adolescents

Your church/school/organisation can help children and young people with HIV.  Together with WCC – EAA, we are involved in a three-month advocacy campaign focusing on South Africa.

UNAIDS estimates that around 1.8 million children younger than 15 are living with HIV in the world.

We know that these children can live a long and healthy life.

It is however essential that they are diagnosed early and that they have medication and Antiretroviral Treatment (ART for the rest of their lives. Sadly, we also know that more than half of children who are born with HIV worldwide will die before their second birthday if they do not receive treatment.

Yet, less than half the children with HIV worldwide received ART in 2017.

Countries worldwide are aiming for the 90/90/90 HIV target - this means that 90% of people living with HIV know their status, that 90% of those who are positive are on antiretroviral therapy, and that 90% of those on treatment’s virus is ‘undetectable’ (this is a sign of successful treatment, and means that the virus is unlikely to be transmitted to others).

South Africa has had good results in reducing new infections in babies and adults (even though there is still concern in some age groups). We are largely also quite successful in achieving the 90/90/90 targets. In 2016, 86% of people with HIV knew their status, 65% of these were on ARVs, and 81% on treatment attained viral suppression.

This success however hides a less rosy picture for children and adolescents, especially for girls.

In South Africa there were 320,000 children living with HIV in 2016, of which 12,000 were newly infected in the year, and 9300 children died from AIDS-related conditions.

While more than 95% of HIV-positive pregnant mothers received treatment in 2016 (this protects their babies from infection and ensure that they stay healthy), only 55% of children living with HIV received ARV treatment. Although the statistics might have strange slightly from then, this means that around 150,000 children do not receive the medicine they desperately need.

One of the most important reasons for this is that children are not diagnosed soon enough, partly because the test in young children is more complex and more difficult to access.

 There is also reason for concern about adolescents.

In 2016 there were 370,000 adolescents (aged 10 to 19) living with HIV in South Africa, of which 150 000 new infections took place in that year alone. Of these new infections, 41,000 took place in young girls. There were also 6 200 deaths due to AIDS-related conditions.

The World Council of Churches - Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) invites faith communities worldwide to be part of an advocacy campaign to address the challenges of HIV diagnosis and treatment in children. This campaign will have a specific intensive focus in South Africa from October to December 2018.

Children's Letterwriting Campaign.

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Useful tools.

Children and young people in schools and churches are invited to be part of an international letter-writing campaign asking for greater access to medication and testing for children. Guidelines are provided to write letter to a few target groups including companies manufacturing medicine and diagnostic equipment, ministers of health, education and finance, etc.

 In this way children can themselves become a voice to increase access to treatment and diagnostics for children and young people.

Although this is an ongoing project we would like to have have the letters by 20 November 2018 so that we can courier them to Geneva for a event on 1 December.

You can also write a letter here.

Tools:

We provide electronic copies of the tools, but they are also available  in hardcopy on request from Lyn.  Please request copies by email.

Champions for Children

People of faith cannot remain indifferent to the 500 children who are newly infected with HIV each day and to the 300 children who die of AIDS-related causes daily. We cannot remain silent knowing that many adolescents do not receive proper information about HIV and AIDS and knowing that all these infections and deaths are entirely avoidable!

To change this situation, the WCC-EAA is mobilizing faith leaders, representatives of faith-based organizations and faith-based media representatives to speak out for and with children and adolescents living with HIV and HIV/TB co-infection. Lyn is acting as a consultunt for the South African campaign

The faith contribution to the Start Free, Stay Free and AIDS Free Framework

This initiative is one of the faith contributions to the Start Free, Stay Free and AIDS Free Framework launched by UNAIDS and PEPFAR in 2016.

We want children to be born free from HIV; children and adolescents to remain free from HIV; and children who are HIV positive to have access to timely testing and quality treatment.

Be a Champion for Children and Adolescents Living with HIV

Champions will inspire political change and inform their faith communities about children and adolescents’ issues related to HIV.

We count on your powerful voices as religious leaders to make and shape national policies, call for justice, protect the rights of children and adolescents, address stigma and discrimination, and mobilize people to take up testing, prevention, treatment and care.

We count on journalists and editors to inform the public about children, adolescents and HIV and raise the level of the debate.

Together, champions will be powerful agents for action to make sure that 1.6 million children and 1.2 million adolescents living with HIV will be provided with treatment by the end of 2018 – as agreed by all United Nations Member States in the Political Declaration 2016 UN HIV High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS.

We are particularly inviting South African faith leaders to be part of this campaign

In many cases the faith voice HIV has become silent. In the country with the largest number of people living with HIV, we need to reinvigorate the faith response.

We would like to invite faith leaders to sign on as champions for children and adolescents living with HIV. We would like to invite you to raise your voice.

What we expect from Champions

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Be a Champion!
Credit: Albin Hillert/WCC

 
 

Champions for Children and Adolescents Living with HIV are asked to support at least one of the following actions:

  • Sign the WCC-EAA Call to Action “Act now for children and adolescents living with HIV” and promote it. (Please also let Lyn know if you have done so)
  • Share information on children, adolescents and HIV within your faith community, including through sermons. Get inspired by the Khutbah and Sermon Guides on children and HIV for Religious Leaders from IMA Health World, INERELA+ Kenya and AIDSFree 
  • Advocate with key decision makers to address paediatric AIDS bottlenecks (government officials; pharmaceutical and generic companies; diagnostic companies, donors) at global level and in your country; and set up meetings with them!
  • Issue a video message on paediatric AIDS testing and treatment for adolescents
  • Organize events to raise awareness about children, adolescents and HIV for instance during occasions such as: Universal TB Day (24 March); Universal Health Day (7 April); Universal Children Day (20 November); Universal Human Rights Day (10 December); World AIDS Day (1 December).
  • Write articles, open editorials for your local or national newspapers, your website, or make a contribution to the WCC Pilgrimage blog and share them with us!
  • Work with radio stations and media outlets, as well as on social media to share all that you do. The WCC-EAA will be honoured to highlight your advocacy actions on the Live the Promise Campaign Facebook page, twitter feed and on the WCC Pilgrimage blog!

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Serious discussions from 2017

We aim to have at least two events in South Africa before the end of November 2018 to equip champions and motivate them for the task. These events will be in Johannesburg and in KZN. Please contact me if you are interested or have any other suggestions. The invitation to these events are available below

Durban - 20 November 2018

Randburg - 30 November 2018

Register for these events here.

To become one of the South African Champion’s for Children and Adolescents Living with HIV, please contact Lyn van Rooyen lyn@vanrooyen.info

Dialogues between Young People and Faith Leaders

Following on the very stimulating dialogues in 2017, dialogue sessions will be held between church leaders and young people in at least two geographic areas. This will create opportunities for young people to share their needs around HIV knowledge and services with faith leaders. If you are interested in being part of a dialogue (presently planned for Gauteng and KZN), please contact Lyn.

Durban - 19 November 2018
Randburg - 29 November 2018

Register for these events here.

2. Common Voice

The AIDS epidemic is at a critical point. A remarkable, decades-long global effort has given us the capability to end AIDS as a public health threat. However, the global political will to end AIDS is weakening, raising the risk of a major resurgence of the epidemic in the 2020s, with tens of millions of lives at stake.

The Common Voice Initiative will reduce the risk through advocacy and action by leaders and followers of a broad range of religious traditions.  We will organize, support, and promote activities that are strongest and most effective when done by religious groups and leaders working collectively.

Our first project is an advocacy video based on the use of the Common Voice pledge in diverse worship settings around the world, essentially a global responsive reading.  If your local religious community would like to participate, please click on the button below.

Access the pledge in English

Participate in the “Common Voice” video​

Download the pledge and video instructions in Afrikaans

Visit the Common Voice Website

Article: 

Gauteng Invitation

Article: 

Letter to Pharmaceutical Company

Introduction and Background

For security reasons you will be required to complete a CAPTHCA in the form of a simple sum - this is to make sure that you are not a robot or a hacker! If you already have the background to the campaign, you can move directly to the letter (click "next page" button at the bottom of the page.)

As a young person, you and your church, school or organisation can help children and young people with HIV. If you already know about the campaign, you can move to the next page (click at the bottom)

UNAIDS estimates that around 1.8 million children younger than 15 are living with HIV in the world - with 500 new infection per day!

We know that these children can live a long and healthy life.

It is however essential that they are diagnosed early and that they have medication and Antiretroviral Treatment (ART for the rest of their lives. Sadly, we also know that more than half of children who are born with HIV worldwide will die before their second birthday if they do not receive treatment.

Yet, less than half the children with HIV worldwide received ART in 2017.

Countries worldwide are aiming for the 90/90/90 HIV target - this means that 90% of people living with HIV know their status, that 90% of those who are positive are on antiretroviral therapy, and that 90% of those on treatment’s virus is ‘undetectable’ (this is a sign of successful treatment, and means that the virus is unlikely to be transmitted to others).

South Africa has had good results in reducing new infections in babies and adults (even though there is still concern in some age groups). We are largely also quite successful in achieving the 90/90/90 targets. In 2016, 86% of people with HIV knew their status, 65% of these were on ARVs, and 81% on treatment attained viral suppression.

This success however hides a less rosy picture for children and adolescents, especially for girls.

In South Africa there were 320,000 children living with HIV in 2016, of which 12,000 were newly infected in the year, and 9300 children died from AIDS-related conditions.

While more than 95% of HIV-positive pregnant mothers received treatment in 2016 (this protects their babies from infection and ensure that they stay healthy), only 55% of children living with HIV received ARV treatment. Although the statistics might have strange slightly from then, this means that around 150,000 children do not receive the medicine they desperately need.
One of the most important reasons for this is that children are not diagnosed soon enough, partly because the test in young children is more complex and more difficult to access.

There is also reason for concern about adolescents.

In 2016 there were 370,000 adolescents (aged 10 to 19) living with HIV in South Africa, of which 150 000 new infections took place in that year alone. Of these new infections, 41,000 took place in young girls. There were also 6 200 deaths due to AIDS-related conditions.

Children and young people in schools, churches and other institutions are invited to be part of an international letter-writing campaign asking for greater access to medication and testing for children. We invite you to be part of this by filling in the form below.

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HIV Resources for a Faith Response

This section contains a growing selection of resources that could be useful for a faith response to HIV. Please also share your resources with me!

 

World Council of Churches

Two initiatives of the World Council of Churches health and healing programme focus specifically on HIV and AIDS. Many wonderful and helpful documents have been developed by these two initiatives over the years. You can read more and access resources:

One Body

One Body started as a cooperation between national Church Councils in the Nordic European countries and Southern Africa. Together we have created material on HIV and AIDS(2006) and towards gender equality, including young people and overcoming violence (2014). The Fellowship of Christian Councils in southern Africa further developed the supplement (2016) as a response to the need for training. It is a continuation of the One Body Series, and discusses the same topics such as Human Dignity, Gender-Based Violence and Unity of Humanity as One Body and uses the method of dialogue.

You can access the resources from the website. in a number of languages.

Roman Catholic Church

Themes for World Day of the Sick

February 11 is World Day of the Sick, an observation started by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. The day coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes and seeks to be "a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one's suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind" (Letter Instituting the World Day of the Sick, 13 May 1992, n. 3).

The Apostolic Nunciature (Embassy of the Holy See) shared the selected verses with a short introduction for the observation from 2020 - 2021

  • 2020 - Mt 11:28
  • 2021 - Mt 23:8
  • 2022 - Lk 6:36

Download the document here.

Gender-based Violence

Thursdays in Black

Gender based violence is a universal and global issue that harms men, women and children in their most private spheres. We often feel helpless and hopeless in the face of so much pain and injustice. However, we can all be involved in a simple but powerful campaign to address gender violence. Every Thursday, people around the world wear black as a symbol of strength and courage, representing our solidarity with victims and survivors of violence, and calling for a world without rape and violence.
 
Thursdays in Black encourages everyone, men and women, to wear black every Thursday. This can be a campaign T-shirt, other black clothing or simply a campaign badge as a sign of their support. Wearing black on Thursdays shows others that you are tired of putting up with violence, and calls for communities where we can all walk safely without fear; fear of being beaten up, fear of being verbally abused, fear of being raped, fear of discrimination. The campaign is not confined only to countries at war, but recognises that violence takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, incest, murder, female infanticide, genital mutilation, sexual harassment, discrimination and sex trafficking.
 
Thursdays in Black focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence, on a personal and public level. It provides an opportunity for people to become part of a worldwide movement which enables the despair, pain and anger about rape and other forms of violence to be transformed into political action.
 
In South Africa, We Will Speak Out South Africa, together with many other individuals, churches, and organisations, strongly support and promote this campaign. As part of this support they make available a website with a very comprehensive database of materials related to sexual and gender-based violence. There is a specific section that focuses specifically on faith-based materials, including sermons, guidelines, Bible studies, etc.

Report on Interfaith Theological Reflections for a Faith-Based Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Southern Africa,

This report of an event held 15-17 July 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa, provides interesting questions for reflection on the challenges of gender and gender-based violence from a faith perspective.

The meeting was convened with the following objectives in mind:

  • To create a space for reflection and analysis by faith leaders on the topic of SRHR based on their specific faiths and sacred texts

  • To gain faith organizations’ support for sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as sexuality education policies and laws in the SADC region, by explaining the policy framework from a theological perspective.

  • To strengthen advocacy skills of the faith-Leaders to contribute to SRHR influence at national and regional levels

This report will highlight the background or motivation that led to the convening of this meeting, a brief review of where participants were drawn from, the methodology and main discussions. This report is part of a two-part workshop process which will result in production and validation of three policy briefs on:

  • Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights

  • Teenage pregnancy

  • Sexual and Gender-based Violence

Download PDF

HIV and Children

The World Council of Churches - Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance: Children, Adolescents and HIV

The WCC-EAA has been actively advocating for HIV treatment for children since 2006, raising awareness on the urgent need for HIV child-friendly and age appropriate medicines and by mobilising faith-based advocacy on paediatric AIDS.

The WCC-EAA developed the booklet: Faith Communities Taking Action with Children and youth living with HIV (pdf, 6.6 MB) providing guidelines for including a children's letterwriting campaign in advocacy.

WCC-EAA also shares many other resources for advocacy on children and HIV on their website.

Christian Sermon Guide Children And HIV For Religious Leaders

Developed by the AIDSFree Project, this sermon guide was developed to empower religious leaders with a tool and skills to reach their congregational members with key messages on paediatric HIV transmission and prevention; stigma and discrimination; and treatment, care, and support:, as well as male involvement in the whole HIV prevention and response continuum. 

The Christian sermon guide was developed in collaboration with religious leaders at the grassroots level and theologians in Nairobi, Kenya, taking cognisance of grassroots realities. Hence it is written to reflect the original tone and language used by the clergy and theologians who developed the sermon messages. This authenticity is preserved to ensure that the guide is adaptable to its primary audience, i.e., religious leaders in Nairobi, Kenya. However, the messages can be adapted to suit different country contexts. Biblical quotations in the guide are taken from the New International Version.

Download

Islamic Khutbah Guide Children And HIV For Religious Leaders

This sermon guide was developed to empower religious leaders with a tool and skills to reach their congregational members with key messages on paediatric HIV transmission and prevention; stigma and discrimination; and treatment, care, and support, as well as male involvement in the whole HIV prevention and response continuum. The Khutbah sermon guide was developed in collaboration with religious leaders at the grassroots level and theologians in Nairobi, Kenya, taking cognisance of grassroots realities. Hence it is written to reflect the original tone and language used by the clergy and theologians who developed the sermon messages. This authenticity is preserved to ensure that the guide is adaptable to its primary audience, i.e., religious leaders in Nairobi, Kenya. However, the messages can be adapted to suit different country contexts.

Download

School Health Toolkit 

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in South Africa has the highest HIV prevalence for any province at 27% [ref: 2018 HSRC HIV Impact Study], and also records the highest number of new TB cases annually. In April 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in partnership with the KZN Department of Health (DOH) started a HIV/TB project called “Bending the Curves” in King Cetshwayo District (pop. 114 000), aiming to reduce the incidence of HIV and TB, bring down HIV and TB morbidity and mortality, and to help the DoH achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 by 2020 targets.

The results of two major studies conducted by MSF made it clear that the HIV epidemic would not be overcome without a strong focus on youth, and with HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) being the most important entry point for HIV-related prevention, support, care and treatment, MSF embarked on a School Testing Program in 2012 in collaboration with local government, with the aim of reducing new HIV and TB infections while empowering high school learners through education to make informed decisions when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. In time, additional services were offered, and the initiative was renamed the MSF School Health Program.
South Africa's 1996 Constitution and Bill of Rights protects the right to make decisions regarding reproduction and the right to access healthcare services for both adults and children. Laws such as the National Health Act (2003), the Children's Act (2005) and others give effect to these constitutional rights for adults and children. The provision of Sexual and Reproductive health (SRH) services to learners is additionally addressed in several national policies and guidelines, most notably the Department of Health’s National HCT guideline, the Standard Operating Procedures for the Provision of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights and Social Services in Secondary Schools (hereafter referred to as DBE SOPs) the multi-departmental Integrated School Health Policy (ISHP), and the Department of Basic Education National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB for Learners, Educators, School Support Staff and Officials in all Primary and Secondary Schools in the Basic Education Sector (hereafter referred to as DBE National Policy). However, poor alignment of the relevant laws and policies is a significant barrier to service delivery, and there is a need for ongoing advocacy work to clarify grey areas and ensure that adolescents are able to easily access SRH services, especially in secondary schools. Schools are an important entry point because there is a high rate of learner retention in South Africa and, once out of school, it is difficult to reach young people [Ref: The World’s Largest HIV Epidemic in Crisis: HIV in South Africa]. The reality is that school-based SRH services are currently not offered to learners in any of the country’s 9 provinces, with the exception of a handful of school health programs driven by non-governmental organizations.

As the country seeks to implement national policies on school-based health education and services it is important that the evidence and experiences of existing school health programs be accessible to service providers and role-players. It is for this reason that MSF has developed this School Health Program “toolkit”, detailing the approach we followed in developing the MSF School Health Program in King Cetshwayo District in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Access the tool here.

Stigma

NHIVNA Best Practice - The language of HIV: A Guide for Nurses

"Language impacts how we think about ourselves, and shapes how we see others. Over the past 30 years, people living with HIV have helped shape the language we use and their work has changed the way we discuss death, dying, sex and sexuality; ensuring that new discourse in the HIV field does not stigmatise, but rather catalyses empowerment for community members. Language has shaped person-centred care and, on the whole, people living with HIV have become empowered self-managers informing the delivery of healthcare services."

This resource is developed for nurses but very useful for all of us working with people living with or affected by HIV.

Ways to stop HIV Stigma and Discrimination

Online tool provided by CDC described as follows:

"You might be wondering how you can address an issue as complex as HIV stigma. But there are many small things you can do that will make a big difference."

"If each of us commits to making positive changes in our families and communities, we can help end HIV stigma and work to stop HIV together. Here are two resources to get you started:

Stigma Language Guide. The words we use matter. Learn how to talk openly about HIV and stigma in a way that can help empower those living with HIV.
Stigma Scenarios: Support in Action. Read through examples of situations that show how HIV stigma can happen in any setting and learn ways to take action.
"

Advocacy Tools

Pediatrics Advocacy Brief

Interfaith Health Program, Emory University. January 2019

On 17 November 2017, leaders of major pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, multilateral organisations, donors, governments, organisations providing or supporting services for children living with HIV, and other key stake- holders participated in a High-Level Discussion on Scaling Up Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Children and Adolescents. The meeting was convened by His Eminence Peter Appiah Kodowo Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and Caritas Internationalis, and in close collaboration with the World Council of Churches-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

In recognition of the urgency of making more optimal paediatric ARV formulations available in 2018 and beyond, the participants of the High-Level Dialogue agreed to the following good faith commitments to focus, accelerate, and collaborate on the development, registration, introduction, and roll-out of the most optimal paediatric formulations and diagnostics.

Download here

Gender Advocacy Brief

Interfaith Health Program, Emory University. January 2019

Tremendous progress against AIDS over the past 15 years has inspired a global commitment to end the epidemic by 2030. Of the 37.6 million people living with HIV, 20.9 million are accessing HIV treatment as of July 2017. Through support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and other partners, more people are living longer, healthier lives with HIV. However, women are still disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic around the globe; as of 2016, AIDS-related illnesses were the lead- ing cause of death among women of reproductive age (15-49 years), and new infection rates are 44% higher in young women than in young men.1 Young men, however, also have an increased risk of dying from HIV. In many communities around the world, faith-based organisations (FBOs) are finding ways to work with those living with HIV in ways that shift harmful cultural and gender norms to provide HIV information and care to both men and women.

Through the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free Framework and the PEPFAR/UNAIDS Faith Initiative, PEPFAR and UNAIDS are working together with four faith partners to strengthen the engagement of faith leaders and communities to address gender inequities, toxic masculinities, and sexual and gender-based violence, and to create demand for treatment and support retention in care.2,3

Working together, UNAIDS, PEPFAR, and their faith-based partners are working to support women’s empowerment, address gender-based violence, and encourage men to understand their own roles and responsibilities in supporting HIV prevention and treatment and addressing gender inequities.

Download here.

Migration

ROAD MAP - HIV among Migrants and Refugees: Strengthening collaboration among faith-based organizations, multi-lateral organizations, governments, and civil society addressing HIV risk, provision of services, and advocacy.

70 individuals from 40 organizations, representing 36 countries gathered in the Ecumenical Center, Geneva, on 20 and 21 February 2019 to develop a Road map for strengthening collaboration among faith-based organizations, multi-lateral organizations, governments, and civil society addressing HIV risk, provision of services, and advocacy.

Migration and displacement can place people in situations of higher risk of vulnerability to HIV, and have been identified in certain contexts as an independent risk factor for HIV. In many countries, refugees and migrants, and, in particular, mi- grants in irregular situations, face complex obstacles, including a lack of access to health-care services and social protec- tions. In addition, social exclusion leaves refugees and migrants highly vulnerable to HIV infection. However, migration and displacement do not equal HIV vulnerability and existing HIV policies and programmes targeting migrants and refugees may actually contribute to increased stigma and discrimination. Efforts must be made to reduce barriers to health services for the benefit of refugees, migrants, their communities and the global response to HIV.

Read or download.

Human Rights

Baseline assessment –South Africa Scaling up Programs to Reduce Human Rights- Related Barriers to HIV and TB services

This report documents the results of a baseline assessment carried out in South Africa to sup- port its efforts to scale up programs to reduce human-rights-related barriers to HIV and TB services. Since the adoption of its new Strategy 2017-2022: Investing to End Epidemics, the Global Fund has joined with country stakeholders, technical partners and other donors in a major effort to expand investment in programmes to remove such barriers in national re- sponses to HIV, TB and malaria (Global Fund, 2016a). While the Global Fund will support all countries to scale up programmes to remove barriers to HIV, TB and malaria services, it is providing intensive support in 20 countries in the context of its corporate Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 9: “Reduce human rights barriers to services: # countries with comprehen- sive programs aimed at reducing human rights barriers to services in operation (Global Fund, 2016b).” Based on criteria that included needs, opportunities, capacities and partner- ships in the country, the Global Fund selected South Africa, with 19 other countries, for inten- sive support to scale up programmes to reduce barriers to services. This baseline assessment, focusing on HIV and TB, is a component of the package of support the country will receive.

The objectives of the baseline assessment were to:

  • Identify the key human-rights-related barriers to HV and TB services in South Africa;
  • Describe existing programmes to reduce such barriers;
  • Indicate what a comprehensive response to existing barriers would comprise in terms of the types of programmes, their coverage and costs; and,
  • Identify the opportunities to bring these to scale over the period of the Global Fund’s 2017- 2022 strategy.

The assessment took place between October and November 2017. It included a desk review, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. It was conducted by the Health Economics and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) of the University of KwaZulu Natal under contract to the Global Fund.

Download here

Counselling and Support

HIV & AIDS Counseling Guide for Religious Leaders

Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) (2019)

The Africa Christian Health Associations Platform launched an HIV counselling guide for religious leaders. The guide will to help religious leaders to provide much-needed support to congregants as they try to cope with issues related to HIV and AIDS. 

ACHAP developed the guide in partnership with the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), INERELA-Kenya, CHAK, SUPKEM, The SDA Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), IMA World Health, St Paul’s University, Organisation of African Instituted Churches and Evangelical Alliance of Kenya

The HIV/AIDS counselling guide for religious leaders:

– Considers the spectrum of client needs – the physical, psychological and socio-economic – to enable them to attain optimal physical, mental and social health and functioning

– Appreciates the role of ongoing support, including information, to help avoid transmission to others

– Acknowledges the place of science in HIV/AIDS but continues to support people using religious tools that they already ascribe to

– Respects individual religious convictions and beliefs of people seeking counselling and does not proselytise.

Development of the guide followed the realisation that religious leaders, although strategically positioned for HIV and AIDS counselling, do not necessarily have adequate skills to fully meet the needs and expectations of congregants who seek such services from them. The guide will also be useful in helping to tackle the continued problem of faith healing.

The guide is available for download from the ACHAP website.

Called to Care Toolkit

Strategies for Hope

This is a series of practical, action-oriented booklets and mini-manuals on issues related to HIV/AIDS, designed for use by church leaders, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It was published between 2005 and 2011, so some of the information around treatment may be outdated, but it provides very useful practical tools and advice, particularly for resource -constrained settings.

For information on how to run training workshops using these manuals, please see the Called to Care Users' Guide

Some of the materials are also available in
Portuguese -
Swahili -
French -

1. Positive Voices. Religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS

The first booklet in the series, Positive Voices, brings together the experiences of 14 African religious leaders – 12 Christians and two Muslims – who are either living with HIV or are personally affected by HIV and AIDS. They include ordained religious leaders and lay people who have a leading role in their faith community. This booklet has three main purposes:

  • First, to enable church groups and communities to discuss HIV and AIDS, health, sexual behaviour, and issues related to religion and culture more freely and openly than is usually the case.
  • Second, to demonstrate that being HIV-positive is not a cause for shame, despair, fatalism or discrimination.
  • Third, to help reduce HIV-related stigma within faith communities by demonstrating that religious leaders too contract HIV, but that they can also live positively and openly with the virus, serving God even more meaningfully and effectively than before.

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2. Making it Happen. A guide to help your congregation do HIV/AIDS work

Church congregations or communities may feel ‘called to care’ about people infected with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS. But what can they do to assist and support such people? How can they address the broader issue of preventing the further spread of HIV — and how can they deal with the sensitive and divisive issues of stigma, shame, discrimination and denial?

The second book in the series, Making it Happen, is designed to help church leaders and congregations to develop and implement a project that addresses some of the challenges of HIV/AIDS.​
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3. Time to Talk. A guide to family life in the age of AIDS

The third book in the toolkit, Time to Talk is a handbook to enable churches to discuss family life and sex in the context of the global AIDS epidemic. Intended for use by pastors, deacons and religious Sisters, as well as catechists and lay church leaders.

Contains role plays, games, quizzes, discussions, Bible studies and other participatory exercises. 

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4. Training guidelines on the pastoral aspects of the HIV epidemic

Books 4 and 5 in the CALLED TO CARE series are based on 12 years of experience by the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), based in Nairobi, Kenya.  The author, Nicta Lubaale, is an ordained pastor who has been involved in faith-based and community responses to HIV and AIDS since 1991.  Since January 2007 he has been General Secretary of the OAIC.

Book no. 4, Pastoral Action on HIV and AIDS, contains guidelines for training pastors and lay church leaders in addressing the pastoral challenges of the AIDS epidemic.  These challenges affect churches in their teachings about sickness and healing, their forms of worship and their pastoral ministries.

Both books include case studies of the work of several African independent churches which, with the support of the OAIC, have responded in particularly innovative ways to the challenges of the AIDS epidemic.  These stories are drawn from OAIC member churches in Kenya and Uganda, but they are relevant to churches throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

Both books contain numerous role plays, discussion guidelines, Biblical references, individual case studies and illustrations by African artists.

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5. Community Action on HIV and AIDS

Training guidelines on community based issues related to HIV and AIDS

Books 4 and 5 in the CALLED TO CARE series are based on 12 years of experience by the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), based in Nairobi, Kenya.  The author, Nicta Lubaale, is an ordained pastor who has been involved in faith-based and community responses to HIV and AIDS since 1991.  Since January 2007 he has been General Secretary of the OAIC.

Book no. 5, Community Action on HIV and AIDS, is designed to help church leaders in dealing with social, cultural and economic issues related to the AIDS epidemic at community level.  It contains sections on topics such as the sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, widow inheritance and property grabbing by relatives - issues which have been exacerbated in many African countries by the AIDS epidemic.

Both books include case studies of the work of several African independent churches which, with the support of the OAIC, have responded in particularly innovative ways to the challenges of the AIDS epidemic.  These stories are drawn from OAIC member churches in Kenya and Uganda, but they are relevant to churches throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

Both books contain numerous role plays, discussion guidelines, Biblical references, individual case studies and illustrations by African artists.

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6. The Child Within. Connecting with children who have experienced grief and loss

This 68-page workbook, containing numerous illustrations, was developed in collaboration with Masangane (‘to embrace’ in Xhosa), an orphan care project supported by the Moravian Church in South Africa’s Eastern Province.  It arose out of a need expressed by volunteer caregivers who were experiencing serious difficulties in looking after orphaned children.

The Child Within breaks new ground in promoting resilience in children who have suffered grief and personal loss.  It does so by enabling adults who are child care-givers - as parents, guardians, volunteers or professionals - to rediscover and appreciate their own ‘child within’.  Through structured workshop sessions, participants learn how to communicate more openly and effectively with children.

The workbook incorporates a Christian approach to children as ‘a gift from the Lord’ (Psalm 127:3), but can be used by a wide variety of community groups and organisations.  Although based on professional research on child and adolescent development, the book is written in clear, simple language, and is easily accessible to non-professional child caregivers.  

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7. Call to Me. How the Bible speaks in the age of AIDS

Call to Me is no. 7 in the CALLED TO CARE toolkit, which is designed for use by churches, faith-based organisations, NGOs and community groups, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

This 76-page handbook consists of 20 Bible studies on topics related to HIV and AIDS, e.g. sex and sexuality; healing; death, grief and mourning; stigma, discrimination and denial; church leadership; marriage; fear and anxiety; and children.  It is written in simple, clear language, and contains 22 drawings by Zimbabwean artist, Mashet Ndhlovu. 
The authors of Call to Me are 12 church leaders in four African countries: Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.  They come from a wide ecumenical background, consisting of Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal and Reformed churches. In South Africa, two groups of people living with HIV helped to develop three of the Bible studies.

Call to Me is action-oriented.  It is designed to enable churches and community groups to deal with difficult, sensitive issues related to the AIDS epidemic, and to decide on ways of dealing with these.  Each Bible study consists of seven clearly defined steps, leading to a session in which the participants suggest and discuss ways in which particular issues and problems can be addressed.  The book concludes with an appendix of basic facts about HIV and AIDS, written in simple, non-technical language. 

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8. My Life - Starting Now Knowledge and skills for young adolescents

Personal identity - making decisions - peer pressure - values - HIV and AIDS - love - sex ….  These are just a few of the topics covered by My Life - Starting Now.  This 80-page manual, no. 8 in the CALLED TO CARE toolkit, is designed especially for use with young people aged 10 to 15.

The manual takes a participatory approach to teaching and learning, using role plays, case studies, games, stories, quizzes, Bible study and artwork to promote discussion and explore critical life skills for young people.  It aims to empower young people to take charge of their lives in a positive way.  It also includes sessions for parents and guardians on their roles in guiding, supporting and educating young people. 

The co-authors of the book - Lucy Steinitz in Namibia and Eunice Kamaara in Kenya - have combined their vast experience of training young people in life-skills and producing educational materials on HIV, gender, sex and sexual behaviour.  Illustrations are by the Namibian artist, Marika Matengu, and the Zambian artist, Danny Chiyesu.

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9. More and Better Food. Farming, climate change, health and the AIDS epidemic

More and Better Food is an essential guide for food security in the age of climate change and the AIDS epidemic.  It presents basic information about food and health, managing soil and water, and improving productivity through organic farming methods which help to address the challenges of climate change.  Written in clear, simple language, the book contains numerous participatory exercises for teaching and learning new farming techniques through practical activities, and is well illustrated with line drawings. 

The co-authors: Rev Dr Anne Bayley is a writer and consultant on HIV and related issues.  She is a former Professor in the School of Medicine at University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia.  Mugove Walter Nyika is an environmental educator based in Malawi, with wide experience of permaculture and of integrated land use design for school communities.

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10. Parenting: A Journey of Love

Knowledge and skills for parents and guardians

Focuses on the knowledge and skills which parents and guardians need to provide their children with protection against threats to their health and wellbeing, and to give them the best possible start in life. Uses stories, poems, quotes, Bible studies, games and participatory exercises.

The author, Fulata Lusungu Moyo, PhD, is a mother on a journey of love with her three sons and numerous other young lives. As Programme Executive for Women and Gender with the World Council of Churches, she finds joy in learning from other women and men about their own parenting journeys. She is also Coordinator of the Circle of African Women Theologians. A Malawian national, she holds a doctorate in Gender and Sexual Ethics from the School of Religion and Theology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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