PEPFAR in Action

PEPFAR Zambia small grants recipient uses sport to sensitize adolescents on HIV prevention

Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC), one of PEPFAR Zambia’s 2019 small grant recipients, is using sports as an innovated method to educate youth about HIV. On December 2nd, OYDC hosted two events to commemorate World AIDS Day.  OYDC opened their gates to the general public to watch 8 hockey teams and 4 football teams play friendly games, peer educators trained with PEPFAR grant money distributed IEC materials on prevention, treatment and care to all the spectators of these sporting events.  Also, hundreds of youths from the local schools were invited at attend a “Champion Talk”.  Speaking at the event, former female world welterweight boxing champion, Esther Phiri, advised the youth to protect themselves from contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted illness by abstaining from sex, and if sexually active, use condoms for protection.  OYDC plans to host several more Champion Talks with Zambian athletes using PEPFAR grant funding to sensitize thousands of Zambia youth about HIV.

On August 15, 2019, Zambia commemorated HIV Testing, Counseling, and Treatment Day (HTCT) with a national event held at the Prince Takamado School, a Lusaka based primary school.  The program included remarks from Ambassador Foote and the Honorable Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya.  In his good will message, Ambassador Foote emphasized the continued commitment of the U.S. government toward Zambia’s goal of reaching HIV epidemic control by 2020, and encouraged everyone, especially men to know their HIV status.  He noted that close to one million Zambians are accessing lifesaving HIV treatment, provided in large part by the U.S. government through U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  As part of the program, Ambassador Foote and the Minister Chilufya took an HIV self-test, demonstrating the simplicity of using an HIV self-test.  PEPFAR Zambia continues to use innovative methods to improve client-centered services to find Zambians living with HIV and retain them in HIV treatment.

On June 17, 2019, Ambassador Foote and the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, held a joint press conference to announce the approval of PEPFAR Zambia’s 2019 Country Operational Plan, which will provide $421 million towards Zambia’s national HIV program.   Ambassador Foote used the press conference as an opportunity to remind men that there is strength in knowing your HIV status, and starting and staying on treatment if positive.  He also took the opportunity to appeal to religious leaders, encouraging them to create an environment that promotes staying on lifelong HIV treatment.  Minister Chilufya expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the American people, and confirmed the Zambian’s government’s commitment to reaching HIV epidemic control by 2020.  Ambassador Foote told journalists from radio, television, and print media that the U.S. government had already invested more than $4 billion towards controlling HIV in Zambia over the past 16 years, demonstrating the commitment of the American people to a strong and healthy Zambia.

Ambassador Foote and His Excellency the President of Zambia Edgar Lungu launched the U=U campaign in Zambia on May 8, 2019, in Lusaka.  U=U stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable, meaning that a person living with HIV who has undetectable levels of the virus (viral load less than 200 copies/ml) cannot sexually transmit HIV.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with PEPFAR funding partnered with the Zambian government to implement the U=U campaign for people living with HIV.  U=U is a global campaign, and through a collaborated effort between PEPFAR and the Ministry of Health was launched in Zambia.

From September 9-14, 2019, PEPFAR Zambia partnered with Public Affairs Section and ECA-sponsored Arts Envoy Step Afrika! in six outreach performances in Kabwe and Lusaka.  Six USAID and CDC PEPFAR funded implementing partners made HIV screening available to the estimated 4,000 in attendance. These events reinforced PEPFAR Zambia messaging encouraging every Zambian to know their HIV status and get on treatment if necessary to help Zambia reach HIV epidemic control by 2020, especially young people.