Strengthening HIV/AIDS Response Partnership with Evidenced-Based Results (SHARPER)
The Strengthening HIV/AIDS Response Partnership and Evidenced-Based Results (SHARPER) initiative, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is designed to reduce HIV transmission among Ghana’s most-at-risk populations, including people living with HIV and their sex partners, female and male sex workers and men who have sex with men. The FHI 360 project, operating in 30 districts with high HIV prevalence, aims to reach 178,000 individuals with health behavior messages and improved access to health services.
SHARPER works directly with targeted populations to:
- Improve knowledge, attitudes and practice of key health behaviors including HIV prevention
- Increase use of HIV counseling and testing, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, and HIV care and treatment services
- Strengthen the human and institutional capacity of program implementers and coordination bodies
SHARPER delivers interventions that are sensitive to the needs of these highly stigmatized groups, protecting their privacy and dignity. Primary activities include peer-to-peer outreach and communication, drop-in-centers, a cellphone-based counseling and health messaging system known as Text Me! Flash Me!, daily SMS reminders for antiretroviral therapy adherence (LifeLine), and a rapid response system for individuals at risk of violence.
Changing gender norms
SHARPER works with female sex workers and women living with HIV to build leadership and negotiation skills so they may better protect themselves and their female peers.
Building organizational capacity
A significant component of SHARPER is to build local capacity in HIV programming. SHARPER helps local partners assess their capacities, prepare development plans and receive mentoring in human resource management, administration and finance, planning and resource development.
SHARPER works with the Ghana AIDS Commission to respond to prevention and health needs and is introducing quality improvement measures to establish national care standards.