HIV and Social Protection

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) advocates for HIV sensitive social protection systems. Achieving social protection for those people affected by HIV is a critical step towards the realisation of universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

Social protection

Evidence shows that social protection initiatives play a critical role in supporting people to overcome the challenges posed by HIV, including limited access to health care, education, and other essential services. Therefore, social protection policies and programmes should be more HIV sensitive. They should respond to the needs of people who are at risk of being infected by HIV, those who live with HIV, and those who are affected in another way, such as children who lost one or both parents to AIDS and their caretakers.

An HIV sensitive social protection approach implies that that all vulnerable groups are able to participate and benefit. It takes into account that poverty and vulnerability may be intensified by the HIV epidemic, and that those affected are more vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, abuse, and exploitation. HIV sensitive social protection recognises these different vulnerabilities within its interventions.

Our advocacy work

Through the Stop AIDS Alliance partnership, Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) promotes the inclusion of HIV in key social protection policy frameworks developed by donors, the EU, governments, and agencies. We also contribute to the development of cross-organisational learning and best practices on HIV sensitive social protection initiatives as  a member of the UN Inter Agency Task Team. 

The Stop AIDS Alliance contributed to the current HIV sensitive social protection guidance note (2011) through UNAIDS and participated in the consultations for the European Commission’s Communication on Social Protection (2012). We provide recommendations on the key elements that we believe need to be considered while developing policies and programmes on social protection, if we intend to realise the universal access targets for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015 and beyond.

Our main recommendations are:

  • All social protection policies and programmes need to be HIV sensitive
  • Programmes should be nationally owned and involve civil society
  • Programmes should include community systems strengthening
  • Comprehensive social protection programmes should include preventative, 
    promotive and transformative elements
  • Social protection mechanisms should recognise and support community care and support to caregivers
  • Social protection must foster social justice and be fully inclusive