Two new programs offer Tanzanians at risk for HIV useful tools and information to assist with changing their behavior, protecting themselves and their families against HIV, and learning their HIV status.
Supported by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR), SafeTStop and Vaa Kondom were launched on May 22, 2007 at the Mpakani/Mwaka grounds in Tunduma, Tanzania.
SafeTStop and Vaa Kondom encourage Tanzanians to take responsibility for preventing new HIV infections. SafeTStop offers a package of HIV/AIDS services and community programs. It is being implemented in nine countries along major transportation routes in East and Central Africa. Vaa Kondom is a national behavior change communication initiative, designed to promote HIV prevention, including correct and consistent condom use, among Tanzanians most vulnerable to HIV.
Dr. Luke Siyame, Deputy Minister for Disaster Management and HIV Campaign in the Prime Minister of Tanzania's Office, presided over the launch. USAID Tanzania Director Pam White also attended the launch. Both delivered remarks.
"These initiatives are contributing to the multi-sectoral response to AIDS, including addressing the needs of difficult-to-reach groups across Tanzania," Siyame said. "We are grateful for the assistance of the American people through USAID and PEPFAR."
SafeTStop is part of the Regional Outreach Addressing AIDS through Development Strategies (ROADS) Project. Initially, SafeTStop will be implemented in Tunduman and Makambako, Tanzania. These sites were selected because of the high-risk for HIV infection in each location.
SafeTStop programs support targeted community mobilization and education, as well as improved HIV/AIDS services including counseling, care, and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The program also addresses root causes of HIV transmission in the community such as alcohol abuse, gender-based violence, and economic vulnerability, especially of women and orphans and vulnerable children.
Vaa Kondom uses Tanzanian proverbs to encourage people to talk about safe sex, the importance of safe sex, and how to have safe sex. Audiences are reached with prevention messages through peer education, radio spots, and small venue entertainment. The program is being implemented by the Tanzanian Marketing and Communications (T-MARC) Company.
Both initiatives support the work of the Tanzania Comission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare's National AIDS Control Program (NACP).
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