26 September, 2016 The Ministry of Health in partnership with Programme for Accessible Health, Communication and Education (PACE) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented a ten-year Positive Living Project (PLP), which has proven that adoption of such positive lifestyles can greatly reduce opportunistic infections, delay HIV disease progression and improve quality of life among PLHIV.
With total funding amounting to US$ 19.783 million from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through CDC, the project distributed a Basic Care Package (BCP)-a simple health kit that included Cotrimoxazole, which is prescribed by clinicians upon confirmation of a positive HIV test; an insecticide-treated mosquito net; a safe water vessel with water treatment for disinfection; condoms and information on how to lead a positive lifestyle. It also integrated screening and management of sexually transmitted infections, family planning, partner testing and supported disclosure, partner discordance counselling, PMTCT, and safer sex practices, including abstinence and fidelity with correct and consistent use of condoms.
PACE on 20th September, 2016, held a national PLP impact dissemination and close out meeting for the project that ends this month, at Hotel Africana in Kampala to share best practices and lessons learned. This follows an independent end of project evaluation by Makerere University School of Public Health.
“Our aim was to reduce opportunistic diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and partner re-infection which take advantage of the compromised immunity of HIV-infected individuals. Findings from the end of project evaluation report show a significantly low incidence of these diseases among individuals that used the BCP kit along with their ART compared to those who used ART only, or the BCP only, especially in the first six months of treatment. Further still the incidence of the diseases dropped significantly in the same period among clients with the BCP only, compared to clients that did not have the BCP at all” says Dr. Dorothy Balaba, Director of Programs at PACE.
The report also showed that adoption of the positive living lifestyle behaviours was higher among PLHIV who had the BCP than those who did not even if they all nearly had equal knowledge about the lifestyle.
To learn more about the impact of the PLP project, read here