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New HIV outreach programme to touch the unreached


May 25, 2021 2 min read

2 min read


THE Disabled and HIV/AIDS Organisation Lesotho (DHAOL) has launched the Enhanced Peer Outreach Approach (EPOA) to expand the delivery of HIV services to Transgender women and men who have sex with other men (MSM), and to reaching members of key populations who might not be accessible through conventional outreach.

The Project Coordinator, Lepheana Mosooane told Metro that the aim of EPOA is to identify new HIV positive cases and to reach those who are harder to reach and are at high risk of getting the disease.

“Finding new HIV positive cases remains a priority to achieve the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) goals,” he said.

This, he showed is done through engaging their peer educators, to engage peer mobilisers, which helps for the saturation of the young population with useful information on how one can stay safe and protected and provide services such as HIV self-testing, Tuberculosis screening, Gender Based Violence (GBV) screening, condom promotion and the distribution  of lubricants.

EPOA complements peer outreach by engaging unidentified key population members for HIV prevention, testing and related services, focusing particularly on those who are not found at traditional hot spots. According to DHAOL this is important because technology changes the ways some key population members contact and meet their sexual partners.


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“With this approach, our key population is more open to receiving information and counselling from their peers, at it might be relatable,” Mr Mosooane told Metro.

He said EPOA is led by a peer educator, who engages other members to persuade peers in their own societal networks to be tested for the services that they offer, focusing on those who are not found at traditional hot spots.

Many programmes for key populations struggle to engage people not already reached through existing program services, while a growing body of studies has shown that using peer mobilisers to engage their social networks to increase the uptake of HIV testing can be effective and efficient in diagnosing new HIV infections.

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