The impact of HIV/AIDS threatens to erode all gains made in all areas of local community, national and regional development within Eastern Africa. The Eastern Africa region is experiencing a mixed and geographically heterogeneous HIV epidemic. The epidemic is generalised amongst the mainstream population and concentrated amongst specific most-at-risk populations. The epidemic has highly variable epidemiological dynamics, geographically with respect to modes of transmission, and with substantial age and sex differentials. The HIV epidemic affects all sectors of the economy and is equally a developmental as it is an epidemiological challenge.
Projects aim to mainstream HIV/AIDS programming across the organisation, and to provide coordinated, comprehensive, high-quality combination prevention and community-based care services, mobilised and strengthened communities for ‘AIDS competence’ using established local and national HIV/AIDS control structures and systems. The projects aim to change individual behaviour through carefully crafted, tailored and culturally appropriate behaviour change communication to most at risk groups. This will reduce the numbers of multiple concurrent sexual partners of men and women, increase the level of abstinence among the youth and the unmarried, increase condom use by men and women during risky sex, and to help provide genuinely youth-friendly (particularly ‘girl-friendly’) and integrated sexual and reproductive health, family planning and HIV services to underserved rural and urban slum communities. Perimart International projects will seek ingenious and innovative ways to reduce HIV transmission by working with those whose high-risk behaviour is regionally criminalised (Sex workers, bisexuals, lesbians, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and drug users) and face significant religious and cultural intolerance among local populations. We will also work with formal health services to develop ways to provide non-stigmatising services to clients perceived to be practising illegal behaviour. Perimart will also lobby and advocate for the decriminalisation and de-stigmatisation of those who practise this high-risk sexual behaviour.