The Halt Project was launched in October 2018. The aim: Halt the spread of HIV and reverse its impact on Swazi society by targeting a crucial population – youth aged 15–24 who are out of school or in college.
Thanks to a grant from the UN Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, coming through Swaziland’s Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO), the initiative covers a broad reach and includes focused support services.
This is a crucial population to reach, since only 66.1% of those who are infected know their status, which is far lower than the 84.7% seen overall. Of those, only 81.7% are receiving ARVs. Compounding the problem: About one-fourth of those receiving treatment in the younger group are not suppressing their infections.
Through World Vision and Young Heroes, the Halt Project has implemented interventions targeting adolescent girls and young women across 20 Tinkhundla in Eswatini. These interventions are aimed at building self-efficacy for negotiation and condom use, self-esteem, risk perception and reduction, gender relations, GBV prevention, leadership and enhanced resilience.
The initiative includes youth health days and events; ongoing groups using the Stepping Stones curriculum; and comprehensive HIV treatment, care and support for adolescents and young adults living with HIV from the communities under the seven constituencies.
As young women who are out of school are at the highest risk for HIV, a special focus on them will include subsidies for tuition and savings groups, where they will learn financial management and micro-entrepreneurship.