Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program Niger (DoD Niger URC Project)
Niger’s military health system lacks a central entity that is responsible for HIV data management, with limited prescribing centers for patients, and high mobility of military providers due to security needs, plus other gaps.
Additionally, very few providers have been trained in how to conduct proper counseling and provide HIV pre-test recommendations. These gaps have made it difficult to set up a network for people living with HIV within the military system and provide the necessary follow-up and management due to the many points of care and treatment. Further, Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN) members’ behaviors increase the risk of HIV infection among nearby populations.
Overview and Objectives
The Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program Niger (DoD Niger URC Project) directly supports the Ministry of Defense to achieve HIV epidemic control by reducing the number of new HIV infections and other sexually transmitted infections among FAN members, their families, and the civilian communities served by the FAN health services. The project is helping to scale up the military’s antiretroviral therapy program to achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 goals. Specifically, it is focused on HIV care and treatment, HIV testing services, HIV clinical monitoring systems, and HIV prevention interventions.
The DoD Niger URC Project has made great strides toward meeting its objectives, including increasing the number of military facilities providing HIV testing and care from two to 12, and the number of facilities carrying out index testing from zero to 12. The project also expanded the number of military maternities offering prevention of mother-to-child transmission services from six to 11 sites during Phase 1.
And despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown, the project team was able to revise their action plan and complete 90% of its Phase 1 activities (9/2019-9/2020). The team HIV tested 4,845 members of the military and residents of surrounding communities in Phase 1 and 9,152 members and residents in Phase 2, exceeding the target of 4,080 in both years. Since the project started, the number of people living with HIV on treatment increased from 16 to 247 by the end of Phase 2.