Groups to Support Community Accession (GAAC) emerged in Mozambique from the need to improve the barriers on access and retention of patients on ART, the shortage of human resources and the weak response to the demand of services.
In the view of the patient, the barriers are the long distances they have to go through to get to health facilities, the cost of transport, the long wait and the need to conduct other activities to support the family.
The main objective of this initiative is to monitor anti-retroviral treatment in patients with a view to retention in the care and treatment in health facilities, thus causing a decrease in abandonment of treatment.
In order also to reduce the workload of health facilities, this initiative also contributes to improving the quality of follow-up of HIV positive patients, promote the active participation of patients in the collection and distribution of drugs to each other and control ART adherence. GAAC also ensures psychosocial support among patients on ART and pre-HAART among themselves and improves the link between HFs and the community, thus establishing an early warning system to screen for various diseases and situations of abandonment to ART.
According to Ana, the support of the Association AIPDC activists was crucial, and helped her to believe it was possible to live with HIV positive and has since remained in treatment.
The support of her family (mother and children) was crucial to meet this challenge, but unfortunately, her husband abandoned her: it was hard for him to accept the fact one needs to take the test and begin treatment. Instead of facing reality and following the advice of Ana Paula, he chose to leave his family.