amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

New amfAR Analysis Highlights Opportunities To Improve Gender Responsiveness Of National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plans

A recent amfAR analysis reveals that National Strategic Plans (NSPs) on HIV/AIDS for countries in sub-Saharan Africa do not consistently disaggregate HIV targets by sex, or create targets designed to advance gender equality. NSPs are critical planning documents that set priorities and targets for a country’s response to the HIV epidemic, influence donor funding priorities, and guide data collection for domestic and international monitoring and evaluation.

CoverThe authors evaluated national HIV targets included in NSPs from 18 sub-Saharan African countries for sex-disaggregation as well as all targets aimed at reducing gender-based inequality in health outcomes. Given the disproportionately high burden of HIV among young women and adolescent girls in this region, sex-disaggregation of national targets by sex and age is important for identifying priority populations and monitoring progress towards achieving domestic and international goals.

They found that on average, among the 18 countries evaluated, 31% of NSP targets include sex-disaggregation and only three countries disaggregated a majority (>50%) of their targets by sex. Sex-disaggregation was more common for targets related to the early phases of the HIV care continuum – 83% of countries included any sex-disaggregated targets for HIV prevention; 56% for testing and linkage to care; 22% for improving antiretroviral treatment coverage; and 11% for retention in treatment. The most common target to reduce gender inequality was to prevent gender-based violence (present in 50% of countries).

Strengthening NSPs to consistently include both gender equality and sex-disaggregated targets is crucial for aligning donor investments with highest need, improving government accountability, and achieving a more robust domestic and international response to HIV/AIDS.

The results are published in the journal Health Policy and Planning. To read the full report, click here