5.7. HIV in the context of an emergency

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In disaster situations, societies can undergo disorganization and a weakening of the social standards that regulate behavior, creating situations where people are more exposed to HIV/AIDS. In addition, poor living conditions and difficulty in accessing services are factors that increase the vulnerability of people who are already carriers.

There is a demand on the health sector for preventive action as well as for treatment and care of HIV/AIDS sufferers. As in other areas of response, these actions should be multisectorally oriented. The main issues to take into account, which are covered in chapter 4 of the IASC Guidelines for HIV/AIDS interventions in emergency settings, are:

  • Coordination
  • Evaluation and surveillance
  • Health
  • Water and sanitation
  • Protection
  • Food security and nutrition
  • Planning for settlements and refuges
  • Education
  • Behavior change communication (BCC)

5.7.1. Response to HIV issues during the emergency

Given the complexity of the measures needed to address the issues of HIV in emergencies, the following checklist, based on the Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV/AIDS is useful in determining whether the elements for adequate intervention are present:

  • An HIV intervention strategy for emergencies exists.
  • National government policies and HIV and AIDS protocols and programs are implemented.
  • Health workers have a basic understanding of HIV, including the issues of the related stigma and discrimination and gender.
  • Health workers are trained to use the IASC Guidelines for HIV/AIDS Interventions in Emergency Settings.
  • Personnel have training on using evaluation systems that deal with vulnerability of contracting HIV in an emergency context.
  • There is effective liaison with key actors working on HIV, including NGOs, community-based organizations, religious groups, etc.
  • Evaluation systems are in place to identify the most vulnerable or at-risk populations in communities where interventions are in progress during the emergency.
  • The minimum response for HIV in each sector has been defined for each stage of the emergency.
  • The organization and resources required to support HIV-related activities in emergency response have been established.
  • The resources and supply chain needed to manage resources are in place.