CHARISMA – June 2017

CHARISMA supports efforts to: increase women’s agency to safely use ARV-based HIV prevention, to engage male partners in HIV prevention, and to overcome harmful gender norms and reduce intimate partner violence (IPV).

Clinic- and community-based interventions continue. CHARISMA is piloting its clinic-based intervention as part of the HOPE (MTN-025) open-label dapivirine ring study at the Wits RHI Hillbrow site. The CHARISMA Social Benefits-Harms Tool (SBHT) has been administered to 38 of the 41 women enrolled in HOPE. The SBHT assesses partner support and determines which CHARISMA counseling modules would be most beneficial for each woman. CHARISMA empowerment counseling on partner communication, ring disclosure, or intimate partner violence (IPV) have been provided to each enrollee. Twenty-four women have completed their Month 1 CHARISMA visit, and 13 women have completed their Month 3 visit. CHARISMA staff send women to referral partner organizations for care or assistance as needed and track referral uptake.

Sonke Gender Justice is continuing CHARISMA’s community-based intervention, which aims to reduce IPV and increase men’s awareness, acceptance, and willingness to support their partners’ consistent use of microbicides. Sonke staff, with the help of community-action teams, hold informal group dialogues, tavern dialogues, soccer tournaments, and door-to-door outreach in two locations with the highest proportion of HOPE participants in Johannesburg: Hillbrow and Soweto. Sonke has recently formed alliances with two housing companies to host community dialogues close to where people live. Finally, a radio program on 1873 FM featured an interview with Sonke giving an overview of CHARISMA. With an estimated 350,000 listeners, most of them youth, this was a good platform for raising awareness of HIV prevention, microbicides, and IPV prevention.

Intervention evaluations and reporting planned. The team will conduct an interim evaluation of the clinic- and community-based components of the CHARISMA intervention and assess the feasible expansion options at additional HOPE sites and subsequently within other ring studies or oral PrEP demonstration projects. Additionally, CHARISMA staff are continuing in-depth analyses of the qualitative formative data used to develop the intervention and will write manuscripts to report the findings.

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