Fighting HIV & AIDS in Pakistan: UNICEF Strategy
Fighting HIV/AIDS in Pakistan: UNICEF Strategy and Major Lines of Action explains a strategy and six lines of action for the HIV/AIDS intervention of the UNICEF Pakistan Country Programme. The need for this strategy arose from UNICEF decision to develop HIV/AIDS as a cross-sectoral theme, several international and UNICEF global commitments, the funding of the Government of Pakistan’s Enhanced HIV/AIDS Control Programme, and a growing understanding of the potential impact of HIV/AIDS on young people in Pakistan. While there is limited data on risk behaviours and HIV prevalence in Pakistan, there is evidence to show high levels of risk behaviours among vulnerable groups. This includes low condom use among female sex workers and syringe sharing among injecting drug users – both predictors of a growing epidemic. WHO/UNAIDS forecast modeling estimated, in 2002, that there were approximately 70,000-80,000 people infected. What this might mean for young people is uncertain, as no sero- or behavioural surveillance of young people have been conducted.
In order to better understand UNICEF’s challenges in developing and implementing HIV/AIDS programming for young people, including adolescents, a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) was conducted. The proposed lines of action for UNICEF reflect its comparative advantages and existing opportunities.
Despite the many challenges to delivering HIV prevention programming to young people around the world, there is growing evidence, after two decades of experience, that risks and new infections among young people can be reduced. It is from the hopeful perspective that UNICEF chooses to confront an epidemic, which shows signs in Pakistan, of advancing from a low prevalence/emerging epidemic to a concentrated epidemic in the near future.
Accepting the possibility of an expanding epidemic, the Government of Pakistan and its bilateral and multilateral development partners have moved quickly, in recent years, to develop the national, provincial and district response to HIV/AIDS. Given the early stage of the epidemic, a policy decision has been made to focus the majority of efforts on the prevention of new infections. For UNICEF, this means balancing between a focus on prevention work with the wider general population of young people, including adolescents, and a focus on those young people who are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Finding this balance will be a matter for ongoing review and adjustment.
Globally, UNICEF will work to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensure that children and young people already affected by the disease are cared for.
• Preventing parent-to-child transmission of the disease;
• Preventing transmission among young people;
• Expanding care facilities for children and parents living with HIV and AIDS.
Expected results by 2005…
• A gender and age disaggregated situation assessment and analysis of HIV/AIDS and its impact on children and young people;
• National policies and strategies approved and action plans under implementation to reduce the risk and vulnerability of young people and to ensure protection and care for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS;
• National policies, strategies and action plans under implementation to prevent parent-to child transmission of HIV/AIVS