Working with Road Contractors to Prevent HIV Infection: Experience and Lessons from the Ethiopia Roads Sector Program
The Ethiopia Road Sector Development Project (RSDP), implemented by Ethiopian Roads Agency, was the first transport project to include HIV/AIDS mitigation clauses in its works contracts. The work started in 1998, and it took three years to mainstream HIV/AIDS prevention and control activities within ERA and in the RSDP construction projects. The project team encountered multiple obstacles in implementing HIV/AIDS programs because the issues surrounding sex and STIs were considered as taboo, and awareness within the ERA staff about HIV/AIDS was very low. The Bank team assisted the ERA Environmental Monitoring and Safety Branch, which normally addresses and monitors social issues and safeguards on road operations, to apply for funds from the Ethiopian Multisectoral HIV/AIDS project (one of the first projects approved under the Africa MultiCountry HIV/AIDS Program, or MAP) to be used for raising awareness and preparing a prevention strategy. In July 2004, ERA completed the HIV/AIDS strategy and policy documents, established a voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) service within ERA headquarters’ health clinic, and organized a workshop in partnership with the Bank for helping five eastern and southern African countries prepare transport HIV/AIDS prevention and control strategies.