HIV AIDS has been steadily increasing in Southern Africa since the early 1990ís. Mpumalanga
Province in South Africa, with its heavy industry, tourism, common boarders and poorer communities
has been particularly hit with HIV prevalenceís in the total population recorded at 21.7%.
In partnership with the private sector, government health services and local communities a peer
education prevention project targeting disadvantaged women in the Kriel community was established
late 1996. Early monitoring data indicated a high exposure by the community to the project with
increasing numbers of condoms being distributed. Later information demonstrated the positive
outcomes and positive behavioural change.
The success of the peer education model used was then duplicated through out the province to other
communities of Mpumalanga with 23 projects using 533 community volunteers at the beginning of
1998. A Non Profit Organization was established to manage the increasing number of projects and
facilitate communities with new prevention initiatives. Later named the Project Support Association of
Southern Africa (PSASA) it worked in close association with the Project Support Group (PSG) and
went on to support Home Based Care activities.
Increasing numbers of community prevention and mitigation activities resulted in a number of
challenges. Despite this, PSASA continued to expand the number and types of activities. By the end
of 2004, PSASA was supporting 84 prevention activities (community, youth, student and workplace
peer education activities) using 1730 volunteers and 108 mitigation activities targeting the sick dying
and orphans and vulnerable children (using over 1200 volunteers). A key to the success of rapidly
scaling up HIV programme activities is attributed to the energy and motivated staff using an effective
model with support by numerous different partners. PSASA has gone on to develop its programmes in
Mozambique, Swaziland and KZN.
This extensive community programmes resulted in the PSASA staff being awarded the African
Heritage Foundation Trust award in December 2003.
Future expansion is planned especially in the context of the National ARV roll out and to continue
expanding OVC programmes.