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Frontline AIDS, a global partnership of organizations working at the frontline of the world’s HIV/AIDS response, is familiar with the importance of making service adaptations to protect the most marginalised people. For decades, Frontline AIDS partners, including community-based organizations, have been evolving their approaches to be most responsive to the needs of communities and the many barriers they face in accessing HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, partners mobilised to innovate their strategies further to address the new barriers and additional challenges faced by marginalised communities living with or at risk of HIV. These communities are affected disproportionately by secondary impacts of the pandemic such as economic disruptions and job loss, threats to the safety and security of vulnerable populations that in turn prevents them from seeking out government-provided aid where available, and increases in human rights violations. In many countries, communities are being denied access or being excluded from government responses to COVID-19 and pandemic-related restrictions are being used to further shrink civil space.

In this context, innovations – including both new approaches and scaling up existing interventions – have supported Frontline AIDS partners to ensure HIV services continue to reach those who need them and shown why community responses are critical to strengthening health systems.

  • In South Africa, to address food insecurity and fill the gaps of the government response, SWEAT – a civil society organisation that is a member of the NACOSA network of CSOs working on HIV, AIDS and TB in the country – crowdfunded and delivered grocery vouchers to sex workers. They raised over US $15,000 to support more than 700 adults and 900 children so far.
  • In Kenya, LVCT Health continued supporting adolescents with HIV care by moving its support groups, an essential part of its youth-friendly program, to the online platform Zoom. In addition to providing psychosocial support, LVCT Health responded to the new, additional challenges that emerged in the sessions, i.e. by providing food parcels and legal support.

These and other innovations that show the skill, resilience and adaptability of community-based organizations to respond to community needs and strengthen health system responses are featured in the Frontline AIDS Report, “Transforming the HIV Response: How communities innovate to Respond to COVID-19.’



To learn more:

In the lead-up to UHC Day 2020 (“Health for All: Protect Everyone”), we are highlighting how CSEM member organizations are contributing to ensure the COVID-19 response protects everyone and keeping momentum going for universal health coverage amid the crisis. See more.

Join us for the virtual UHC Day rally on 12 December 2020 — share your commitment to UHC and call on decision-makers to protect everyone!