HIV services at the community level in Kenya are currently delivered largely through vertical programmes. The funding for these programmes is declining at the same time as the tasks of delivering HIV services are being shifted to the community. While integrating HIV into existing community health services creates a platform for increasing coverage, normalising HIV and making services more sustainable in high-prevalence settings, little is known about the feasibility of moving to a more integrated approach or about how acceptable such a move would be to the affected parties. We used qualitative methods to explore perceptions of integrating HIV services in two counties in Kenya, interviewing national and county policymakers, county-level implementers and community-level actors. Data were recorded digitally, translated, transcribed and coded in NVivo10 prior to a framework analysis.
We found that a range of HIV-related roles such as counselling, testing, linkage, adherence support and home-based care were already being performed in the community in an ad hoc manner. However, respondents expressed a desire for a more coordinated approach and for decentralising the integration of HIV services to the community level as parallel programming had resulted in gaps in HIV service and planning. In particular, integrating home-based testing and counselling within government community health structures was considered timely. Integration can normalise HIV testing in Kenyan communities, integrate lay counsellors into the health system and address community desires for a household-led approach.
This project is funded by the European Union.