HIV care follow-up in East Central Uganda. Photo credit: URC

Faith-based Action for Scaling Up Testing and Treatment for the Epidemic Response (FASTER)

The Challenge

Every three minutes, an infant is infected with HIV somewhere in the world. That’s nearly 500 new infections each day. But only half of babies born to HIV-infected mothers receive early infant diagnosis services. UNAIDS estimates that over half of all children living with HIV still need to be identified and enrolled in treatment. Also at great risk are children and adolescents, who are the only age group for which HIV-related deaths have increased over the last decade.

Overview and Objectives

The Faith-based Action for Scaling up Testing and Treatment for the Epidemic Response (FASTER) Project addressed key gaps in the child and adolescent HIV treatment cascade, including HIV-exposed infants/early infant diagnosis. FASTER catalyzed more rapid progress towards the 95-95-95 targets in four FASTER priority countries – Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. FASTER is a component of the Faith-based Organization Capacity Strengthening for Universal HIV Services Project. Catholic Relief Services was the lead implementer.

In Uganda, URC’s role as a sub-recipient of the award was to manage booster quality improvement coaches that work with 15 health facilities in East Central and Mid-North regions of Uganda. We worked to ensure children and adolescents living with HIV reach undetectable viral loads in line with the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets and elimination of mother-to-child transmission in Uganda.

FASTER also worked in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development, faith-based organizations, civil society organizations, networks of persons living with HIV, adolescents living with HIV, and other key stakeholders to rapidly and strategically expand identification, HIV testing, linkage to care and treatment, adherence and retention for HIV-exposed infants, children, and adolescents living with HIV.

Duration
2020–2021

Countries
Uganda

Regions
Africa

Expertise
Adolescent Health, HIV/AIDS, and Quality Health Systems

Funders
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Partners
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)