Prevention remains at the heart of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) approach to HIV. It is intrinsically linked to the work to end HIV stigma and discrimination, and to its care and treatment.
Effective prevention requires the development of life skills, education and social mobilization to counter the stigma and discrimination that can block access to treatment.
Effective care and treatment counter stigma and boost prevention. For example, motivating people to be tested for HIV encourages them to look after themselves and protect others. In contrast, the HIV pandemic is fuelled by discrimination and exclusion. If included in society, people living with HIV can continue to make a contribution.
Until now, the IFRC has advocated the ABC approach to prevention – abstinence, be faithful, condom. However, this approach to providing choice can only be partly effective unless the issue of empowerment amongst women, vulnerable groups and those affected by HIV is also addressed.
IFRC prevention strategies will now be strengthened to include:
- peer education and community mobilization
- information, education and communication for targeted vulnerable groups
- promotion of voluntary counselling and testing
- promotion of prevention of mother to child transmission, involving fathers
- promotion of skills for personal protection, including condom use and clean needles