The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4327.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 9:30 PM

Abstract #67062

Role of community support structures in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support: The COPHIA model in Kenya

Peter Kagwe and Georgianna Platt, MA. Kenya Office, Pathfinder International, 9 Galen Street, Suite 217, Watertown, MA 02130, 617-924-7200,

Active community support and involvement are crucial to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support. Programs must implement activities within existing community structures, thereby facilitating community support, increasing impact, and fostering sustainability. Pathfinder International develops and supports community structures through its Community-Based HIV/AIDS Care, Support, and Prevention (COPHIA) Project in Kenya. COPHIA improves local communities’ ability to identify their needs and carry out activities to support people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The project establishes community implementation committees (CICs) through participatory rural appraisal techniques and sensitization activities early in the program and maintains a flexible approach, which supports CICs to decide which activities best meet local needs and resources.

CICs are comprised of local administrators, traditional and religious leaders, leaders of women’s and youth groups, and local business owners. The committees identify specific community needs and resources, mobilize people to seek services, and provide linkages to HIV/AIDS care and support. They also help supervise, monitor, and evaluate COPHIA program activities in coordination with local implementing partners and community health workers. CICs often establish ecumenical support groups to bring faith-based organizations together in support of HIV/AIDS initiatives and to leverage community food donations for PLWHA and orphans. This active involvement of community leaders and stakeholders helps bring HIV/AIDS into the open therefore reducing stigma and discrimination. Communities are endowed with resources that need to be harnessed and supported to ensure community ownership of, and participation in, sustainable HIV/AIDS care and support activities. This paper highlights best practices and lessons learned from COPHIA.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

HIV Orphans and Community Responses

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA