Globally, South Africa remains at the centre of the HIV epidemic. Progress has been made – some 7.1 million South Africans are on antiretroviral treatment and there has been a decrease in the overall number of people getting HIV. However, there were still an estimated 266 988 new HIV infections in South Africa in 2017 and about 92 827 of these were in young women. There is a clear and urgent need for interventions that empower young women to reduce their risk of HIV and violence. Given the socio-economic realities and structural issues at play, such interventions need to be supported by initiatives to strengthen families, provide social protection and to challenge and change gender norms.
This is the driving force behind CMT’s Outreach work where our dynamic teams implement HIV prevention programmes that target priority populations such as adolescent girls and young women and their male sex partners. The Outreach teams work to build knowledge and change attitudes and behaviours in order to support the uptake of and access to preventative health services and promote healthy behaviours. CMT’s Outreach team implements evidence-based programmes at community level, including:
- Stepping Stones, which is a series of workshops designed to help promote sexual health, improve psychological well-being and prevent HIV.
- Man2Man, which specifically targets men and draws on the methodology and content from the Stepping Stones programme and covers content on HIV testing, voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention, condom use and gender-based violence.
- Families Matter! Parenting programme, which targets parents and caregivers of adolescent children to enable them to better prepare their child for safely navigating adolescence, and to engage with them on topics such as sex, family planning, pregnancy and HIV.
- Safe Space Girls Clubs, which uses a girls-centred approach to empower adolescent girls and young women to develop social and protective assets in order to reduce their risk for HIV, gender-based violence and unwanted pregnancy.
- Healthy Choices, which targets school-going children between the ages of 10-14 and 13-17 with programming that encourages abstinence, delayed sexual debut and safe sex. CMT has adapted the programme materials from the United States and Kenya to the South African context, and updated design as well as training CMT facilitators and other CDC-funded implementers to commence with the programme from October 2018.
CMT’s evidence-based programmes are complemented by community mobilisation and demand creation activities. As part of these activities, CMT holds awareness events and does face-to-face communication with small groups and individuals at community level. Condoms and IEC pamphlets are also distributed as part of this package.
A key part of all programming is proactive referral and linkage of beneficiaries to appropriate health and social support services.