CHARISMA – September 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. As of early August, the CHARISMA Social Benefits-Harms Tool (SBHT) has been administered to 73 women enrolled in HOPE to assess partner support and select counseling modules for each woman. CHARISMA empowerment counseling on partner communication, ring disclosure, and/or intimate partner violence (IPV) have been provided to each enrollee. Fifty-seven women have completed their Month 1 CHARISMA visit, 32 women have completed their Month 3 visit, and six women have completed their final scheduled CHARISMA visit at Month 6. CHARISMA staff refer women to partner organizations for care or assistance as needed and track referral uptake. Staff also provide partner referrals for women who would like their partners to come to the clinic for additional information about the ring or for HIV counseling and testing.

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. The community action teams have reached nearly 300 new community members, including unemployed men, by going door-to-door in hard-to-reach areas. Following a USAID visit to the field in July, the community action teams reported that the visit boosted their morale and helped them see how their work contributes to the broader landscape of HIV prevention and PrEP introduction programs.

Intervention evaluations and reporting planned. The team is conducting an interim evaluation of the clinic- and community-based components of the CHARISMA intervention. In partnership with USAID, the team is also assessing feasible expansion options within oral PrEP and other microbicide projects. Additionally, CHARISMA staff are continuing in-depth analyses of the formative data used to develop the intervention and will write manuscripts to report the findings.

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