HIV/AIDS in DR Congo
Overview of the Epidemic
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the most populous and vast countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of over 60 million. A country with a generalized epidemic with low prevalence: 4.1% (ANC 2008); 1.3% (DHS 2007), DRC appears to share many of the common characteristics of a generalized epidemic fueled by heterosexual transmission including early initiation of sex, unprotected sex with non-regular partners, multiple sex partners, low incidence of condom use among high-risk groups and individuals, mother-to-child transmission, unscreened blood transfusion and other invasive medical procedures and transactional sex.
CDC HIV/AIDS Activities in Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2003, US President George W. Bush announced the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and CDC GAP Democratic Republic of the Congo became a part of this unified US Government effort to turn the tide against the epidemic. In DRC, CDC is:
- Facilitating testing and counseling (TC) of pregnant women and the male partners at antenatal sites.
- Supporting model prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT) sites in Kinshasa that include training health workers, counseling and testing of pregnant women at antenatal sites and the provision of antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis for infected mothers and exposed infants.
- Providing technical assistance, training and commodities for blood safety and safe injections in targeted health zones, as well as focusing on policy-level changes in blood and injection safety by aiming to create policies that decrease demand for transfusions and injections.
Supporting the HIV/AIDS Hotline in collaboration with the three largest cell phone companies. Anonymous, free-to-caller information on HIV/AIDS is provided by trained counselors, many of whom are HIV-positive. This highly popular program receives 35,000 calls per month.
Care and Treatment:
- Supporting a sustainable and productive model of comprehensive, evidence-based, family-centered treatment, care and support known as the Family-Centered Continuum of HIV Services, to be delivered in select health facilities. In addition to primary care services, the model health facility offers tuberculosis (TB) and TB/HIV programs, post-birth follow-up, palliative care, antiretroviral treatment (ART) and psychosocial support services.
- Strengthening community-based organizations that provide supportive and palliative care outside of health care facilities
Laboratory, Strategic Information, and Other Capacity Building:
- Providing technical assistance for laboratory services and strengthening laboratory capacity at health facilities.
- Implementing the national laboratory Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality control (QC) system for HIV/AID.
- Assisting national programs to refine their treatment protocols and policies.
- Supporting antenatal care (ANC) surveillance in sentinel site.
- Supporting behavior surveillance survey plus among high risk population.
- Supporting special studies on men who have sex with men (MSM), migrants populations, people who use intravenous drugs (IDP) to help inform policy makers and program development.
- Developing a strategic information center for gathering and managing HIV/AIDS information.
- Supporting a unique DRC HIV web data reporting system.
- Implementing human resources for health (HRH) activities, including providing pre-service and in-service training for health providers.