MaxART Core Message: Early Treatment for Better Health

July 15, 2014

A robust communications strategy is essential for the effective implementation of the MaxART demonstration project Early Access to ART for All. Emma Mafara, MaxART Communications Associate, was involved in the development and will be involved in the implementation 
of the strategy in preparation for the project’s rollout. A short interview with Emma.

Why is a communications strategy so important?

Emma: 'We want to be sure that everyone understands the importance of early ART uptake. This is why we provide tailored information and support to different target groups, answer questions, and proactively address misinformation. For the development of the communications strategy, it was crucial to take into account the barriers and the potential benefits of early adoption of ART for each group.' 

What are barriers for early ART uptake?

Emma: 'Some people living with HIV are reluctant to start ART when they do not feel sick. Moreover, health providers are not always able to correctly explain the benefits of early ART. Myths, misconceptions, and lack of information about the advantages are major barriers.' 

What is the focus of the communications strategy?

Emma: 'The core message is "Early treatment for better health." A package of information materials is being developed for use in community and clinical settings, for instance. Our aim 
is that people can make informed decisions based on appropriate messages via the right channels.' 

This interview has appeared in the MaxART e-news edition 5.