The 2013 UNAIDS report notes “Innovation should be unleashed to re-conceptualize HIV testing, link individuals to comprehensive treatment and care at an early stage of infection, and strengthen community systems.” In the 14 years since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, the scale and ambitions of HIV programs has increased, as has the attention given to innovation in program design. But when the initial excitement surrounding a new intervention fades, where can programs turn for evidence of innovations that have already found success? With the AIDS2014 conference in Melbourne Australia underway this week, the Center for Health Market Innovations is spotlighting innovative work in HIV care from our database of over 1,200 market-based health programs. CHMI has identified 310 programs that focus on HIV/AIDS, representing 25% of our total database.
The majority of these private sector innovations are located in Africa, though Vietnam and India also host many HIV-focused programs profiled in the database. 80% of these programs report activities in the CHMI “Changing Behavior” category, activities that “change the behavior of individuals involved in health care transactions by educating patients about what kind of care to seek or providers about how to deliver higher-quality services.” A total of 84 programs focus on enhancing processes through the use of Information Communication Technology, and many other programs are exploring innovations in laboratory diagnostic services and mobile clinics.
The following health programs from the CHMI database are an example of the range of approaches to promote HIV prevention, reduction, and education across the globe.
1. Positive People’s Cafe | Vietnam
- The Positive People's (P.P.) Café functions as an educational resource center and a job-creation center for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Supported by the Vietnamese government and the Bright Future Network, the P.P. Café aims to reduce stigma surrounding HIV by distributing educational materials, providing care and referrals for PLWHA, and monitoring treatment compliance. The café encourages PLWHA to serve as ambassadors for reproductive health education and stigma reduction. In addition to the P.P. Café, the Bright Future Network also supports a beauty contest to increase public awareness and acceptance of HIV-positive women.
2. Men as Partners | South Africa
- Men as Partners (MAP) seeks to change harmful gender norms and provide male-friendly reproductive health and HIV prevention services. The program works in peri-urban and urban environments to raise HIV awareness and improve access and acceptance of contraceptives. Thousands of men have participated in the program’s workshops and community activities, which are supported through funding from The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and Engender Health. The program implementers seek to transform men’s behavior in the community and have men play an active and constructive role in promoting health.
3. New Start South Africa | South Africa
- New Start South Africa is a branded HIV/AIDS franchise service that provides point-of-care rapid HIV testing and pre- and post-test counseling. New Start’s seven fixed sites provide testing for 25 Rand, while their 16 mobile sites provide testing for free. Their mobile test accounts for 80% of all patients, and mobile sites can be found in “pop-up” locations surrounding shopping malls, concerts, and taxi stands. The program has increased their impact expanding to a franchise model that allows sites to be managed by other NGOs. New Start focuses on motivating healthy men and couples to get tested for HIV, and also provides medical male circumcision and rapid testing for TB and STIs. The New Start brand is also present in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
4. North Star Alliance | West, East, and Southern Africa
- North Star Alliance is a public-private partnership that provides basic health care and sexual health education for truck drivers, sex workers, and communities far from central health facilities. The organization’s innovative approach involves bringing healthcare to targeted groups in the areas where it is needed the most. Their Roadside Wellness Centers (RWC’s) are semi-mobile blue shipping containers that function as mobile clinics providing HIV testing and counseling, in addition to treatment for STIs and other primary care services. By installing clinics in high-traffic areas and partnering with government and businesses North Star Alliance is able to achieve high yields in increased access and decreased cost. The program works across major transportation corridors in Eastern and South Africa; they currently have a presence in Botswana, the DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
5. The Fitun Warmline AIDS Hotline | Ethiopia
- The Fitun Warmline AIDS Hotline provides health care professionals with answers to questions about HIV/AIDS care and treatment. The toll free number supplies callers with reliable information, and a website provides additional documentation. Marketing campaigns around Ethiopia have increased awareness of the hotline, and the introduction of a text-based hotline is also improving knowledge management in the country. By supporting health care professionals to better carry out their duties, the Fitun Warmline increases trust in health workers, and the capacity of health workers to respond to patients’ needs.
To learn more about the innovative market-based programs working in HIV care and prevention, check out the CHMI database. The above programs are a great place to start.
Photo: North Star Alliance's Roadside Wellness Center in Emali, Kenya. North Star Alliance © 2013.