Registered as a Section 21 not for profit company, HIVSA (www.hivsa.com) was founded in 2002, in the pre- HIV treatment era. We are based in Johannesburg, Gauteng and have a track record of implementing projects in the City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and Sedibeng. Over the years, we have learnt that connecting and including marginalised communities in all processes remains the only credible approach to truly build and empower communities as it affords them opportunities to be part of the development and growth chain. We are ambitious and resolute in demonstrating that communities are truly able to own and drive their development agenda. As such, HIVSA strengthens and mentors Community- Based Organisations (CBOs) and other structures to implement various initiatives. We always strive to bring health solutions to communities by facilitating access to health and social services. As such, we have Memoranda of Understanding in place with the Departments of Health (DOH) and Social Development (DSD) and longstanding partnerships with clinical and non- clinical partners to ensure holistic service delivery. Our ultimate focus is to empower individuals and communities to be self- sustainable through developing their capacities to solve and take ownership of the socio- economic and health challenges they face. Communities are integral partners and stakeholders in all HIVSA programmes.
We are privileged to be in a position where we continue to set new standards in the community health sector.
Our fundamental belief is that solutions to community social and health problems lie within communities. Working with a network of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), we build community capacity to respond to and address social and health issues. We focus on the following areas:
Since 2012, through funding from USAID, HIVSA has been implementing an OVCY Support programme in the City of Johannesburg, Sedibeng and in 2018 expanded the programme, now known as the Preventing HIV & AIDS in Vulnerable Populations (PHVP), to include the City of Tshwane. The programme builds on the existing capacities of locally based DSD funded CBOs in our areas of implementation and their access to households through their cadres of Community Caregivers (CCGs) who are responsible for service provision at a household level.
In 2016, HIVSA began implementing the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) basket of interventions to reduce HIV infections among Adolescent Girls and Yong Women (AGYW). The interventions included HIV prevention, supporting access to care and treatment, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education, economic strengthening, educational support and in some cases material assistance. The aim of DREAMS is to layer interventions that assist and empower AGYW in making informed choices about their SRH and accessing SRH services, facilitating access to HIV prevention methods such as Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), ensuring the completion of schooling and the building of social assets among AGYW.
Given its track record of over 20 years of working with youth in communities in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and HIV and we believe we are well positioned to expand our current youth services to include gender-based violence (GBV) prevention programmes and initiatives. Over time we have become aware of the inextricable link between HIV and GBV, and from our own understanding of the complex causes of HIV, and from local and international research, we have concluded that it is essential to address issues of GBV in our work. While we have not previously identified GBV as a primary focus area in our work, we have effectively worked with GBV for the past decade and as a result has developed a deep understanding of GBV in the communities we serve and have developed sound competencies in this field. HIVSA views GBV as a symptom of gender inequality and we firmly believe that unless unequal gender practices and harmful social norms are addressed, we will continue to experience high levels of GBV and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in South Africa. To this end, HIVSA has developed the following Theory of Change (TOC) for its model:
HIVSA’s Theory of Change (TOC) outlines the need to address GBV if we want to see the required changes related to HIV prevention. Our response shows that if we want to prevent HIV, we also need to prevent GBV in a way that addresses the root causes of GBV, namely disregard for human rights, abuse of power, social and cultural norms, including those embedded in patriarchy and religion, that promote or tacitly condone unequal treatment of young girls and women. Our TOC further emphasises that it is important to target the context in which GBV occurs. In the communities we work in, we must educate young people, change gender norms, empower girls and women, mobilise networks and transform systems and networks. We ultimately want to ensure that young people practice and promote positive gender norms, and work together to end GBV, thereby mitigating the risk and impact of HIV.
The model of implementation is one that rooted in communities utilising community conversations to unearth and explore unequal gender practices. We see youth, both male and female, playing an active role in the implementation of the programme using evidence- based interventions and in advocating for change both on ground and online using the Choma platform.
HIVSA has previously implemented community HIV testing and screening (HTS) services and facilitated linkage to care and treatment. This included the distribution of self- screening HIV test kits and utilising the HTS modality to conduct brief alcohol screening and advise in Alexandra.
We have previously offered an HWSETA accredited Further Education and Training Certificate in HIV Counselling with the aim of ensuring that lay counsellors received standardised and quality training that resulted in them obtaining a counselling qualification. While the organisation no longer offers accredited training, we continue to support the DOH’s Regional Training Centre in the training of clinical and non- clinical staff such as Community Health Workers (CHWs).
HIVSA was also actively involved in the conceptualisation and development of the Ward Based Outreach Team model comprising CHWs and related training content. As indicated above, we have also actively participated in the training of CHWs in support of the DOH.
HIVSA has supported the DOH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. During the initial lockdown period, HIVSA’s team was deployed to support community COVID-19 screening activities. In the last two years, we have implemented different community mobilisation and demand creation initiatives to increase the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine including providing education around the vaccine, dispelling myths, supporting vaccine registrations and facilitating access to static and mobile vaccination sites.
Since 2013, HIVSA has been implementing an online magazine called Choma Magazine (www.choma.co.za) which provides information on sexual and reproductive health and rights to girls and young women. Choma is aimed at preventing HIV infection in girls and young women, who are still disproportionately affected by HIV. Choma has an Ask Choma button which assists girls and young women with one-on—one support and referrals to vital services which girls and young women might need. Choma has reached more than 4 million users to date, with high rates of self-reported improvements in health seeking behaviour following exposure to Choma magazine articles.
Choma is available on all social media platforms, on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and website. The
Choma Cafés are another example of HIVSA’s innovation. The Choma Café is an award winning
social and digital safe spaces concept that has proven to be a “game changer” in increasing uptake
of HIV prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights services among Adolescent Girls
and Young Women and youth in high HIV burden communities.
Choma social media highlights (January to December 2021)
149, 773 Facebook followers
4, 915 Twitter followers
3, 130 Instagram followers
4, 241 Newsletter subscribers
18, 766 users participated in surveys and quizzes
18, 697 questions responded to on all ASK Choma platforms
Having been in existence for 21 years, HIVSA has demonstrated sound institutional and programming capacities to successfully implement large, multi- year, locally and internationally funded programmes. Our Annual Reports may be accessed using this link: https://www.hivsa.com/publications/#hivsa-documents
The organisation is characterised by the following factors:
Through focused and strategic collaboration and partnerships, our work aims to deliver positive social impact to communities and individuals living in South Africa.
We want to see South Africa taking responsibility for its own development – African ownership for African challenges through the development of social solutions rooted in Africa. There has been a notable shift in private sector attitudes and investments in ESG for many reasons as reflected below.
Corporates are giving increased prominence to investing in ESG because of:
Given HIVSA’s track record in implementing sustainable community programmes, we believe that we can add value to the social initiatives within companies’ broader ESG strategies specifically where there is alignment to the work we do.
The Value we add:
To talk to us about partnership opportunities, please contact:
Ms Yashmita Naidoo
To learn more about our work, please click on the link below: