Community AIDS Prevention Project – COMAPP


 

In South Africa, 12% of the population (6.4 million) are living with HIV. The AIDS epidemic is generalised with primarily heterosexual transmission. Knowing one’s HIV status is essential, making HIV counselling and testing (HCT), a vital component of HIV care and prevention. The Community Aids Prevention Project (COMAPP) addresses the challenge of reducing HIV transmission in 5 high disease burden communities in the Cape Town District of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. In order to provide a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, COMAPP uses a “best practices” community-based HIV counselling and testing (HCT) model that has been developed to provide HCT services, into which various HIV prevention interventions are linked.

Principal Investigator: Sue Ann Meehan

The project provides services at a community level through local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who manage HIV prevention centres. Clients can voluntarily access HCT services either at one of these Centers (fixed sites) or on an outreach (mobile) basis. Mobile services utilize caravans and pop-up tents, which are set up on busy streets or at transport hubs.

COMAPP provides services to the general population, but targets people who don’t typically access a health facility e.g. males, youth and couples. The project increases access to HCT for these populations, providing early case detection for HIV and TB, and is able to integrate condom promotion, risk reduction discussions, family planning and other HIV preventive information; including medical male circumcision (MMC) and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT). All clients are appropriately referred and linked to care for HIV, TB, sexually transmitted infections, PMTCT and MMC.

The “Families Matter!” program has been incorporated into the existing community-based model.  This evidence based intervention is designed to promote positive parenting practices and effective parent-child communication about sexuality and sexual risk reduction for parents and guardians of 9-12 year olds. The ultimate outcome of the program for these pre-adolescents is to delay sexual debut, thereby reducing their risk of teenage pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

COMAPP’s community based HCT model ensures improved capacity for local NGOs to deliver HIV prevention services and provides human capacity development and training for the implementation and management of HIV prevention services. Through staff training, coaching and mentoring, the project is building capacity and increasing skills within these communities, which will ultimately encourage the sustainability of these activities. Continued close working relations with government partners is also an integral part of the project and further aids sustainability.

Principal Investigator: Sue Ann Meehan: sueannm@sun.ac.za