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SAAF provides long term funding and grants to adults and children on the HIV Medication Program to enable them to obtain treatment and medication to combat the HIV virus and opportunistic infections such as TB, Cancer and pneumonia.
HIV treatments are often referred to as combination therapy, Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART), Anti Retrovirals (ARV), and Highly Active Anti Retroviral Therapy (HAART). HAART aims to stop HIV replication, reduce viral load, increase the CD4 count, and to prevent opportunistic infections.
Drugs are used in a combination of three or more, although some new drugs are combinations in one tablet. For the drugs to work effectively the level of adherence must be 95% or higher. Adherence means a long term commitment to take drugs at correct times, in correct doses and in the correct way. Factors such as the side effects of the drugs, availability of drugs, food and water affect adherence, more so in limited resource settings in Africa. The inadequate supply of clean drinking water and food often make it impossible to maintain high levels of adherence.
The biggest challenge in Zimbabwe and most countries in Africa has been and continues to be the the erratic availability of ARVs or drug stock-out. Although rapid HIV testing is now widely available in over 600 health care facilities providing HIV care and treatment services in Zimbabwe, less than 30% of adults and 10% of children who are HIV infected and meet criteria for antiretroviral (ARV) treatment were on ART (ZNASP MTR 2009).
SAAF provides long term funding and short term grants to individuals and non governmental organisations (NGOs) to enable them to purchase treatment and medication. In most cases regular payments are made either directly to an individual, organisation or private clinic for hospital and Doctors’ fees and ART medication.
Where a family is getting support from SAAF either under the orphans program or HIV medication program, SAAF will also assist the family to be self sufficient in the long term. SAAF also gives material support in the form of grants for rent and household bills, clothing, food and water including water supply.
Income generating projects empower households to generate income on their own so that they are not wholly dependent on aid. SAAF provides grants for seeds and agricultural inputs, poultry and livestock rearing, textiles, knitting and sewing clubs, and Women’s clubs e.g Ankhazi.