Circle of Hope: Using faith-based community outreach posts to increase HIV case finding, linkage and retention on treatment in urban and rural settings in Zambia

Antiretroviral treatment (ART) coverage for people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Lusaka Urban District (the capital and largest city in Zambia) was estimated to be near 70 percent in January 2019, with lower coverage for children, men, and young adults. In March 2018, recognizing that growth in the HIV treatment program had plateaued, CoH leadership, in coordination with CRS, created a new model to identify PLHIV and immediately link to same-day ART initiation. Critical elements of the model include: its acceptability by the service utilizer, the location of the community posts, the stakeholder engagement of the local community, and the selection of local CHWs who know the geographic and social terrain of the surrounding community. After implementing the community post model, CoH saw immediate and sustained increase in HIV case identification. Ninety-two percent of HTS_POS from March 2018 – March 2019 reported by CoH were identified at the community posts; only 8 percent were from the central facility.