Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Infectious Diseases
I-TECH has a wealth of experience and expertise in planning, developing, and implementing projects focused on prevention, care, and treatment of infectious diseases, particularly HIV and opportunistic coinfections such as tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted infections.
I-TECH's prevention work in HIV and infectious diseases centers on three prevention strategies:
- training health care workers in infection control,
- behavior change communication (BCC) interventions, and
- prevention with positives (PWP).
Training health care professionals in proper infection control practices helps to stanch the spread of infectious disease in the health care setting. I-TECH has partnered to create several curricula on the fundamentals of infection control practices for health care professionals, and many others incorporate instruction on these measures into their course content. Curricula aim to enhance the skills of health care professionals on prophylactic measures, such as safe sanitation and use of equipment, and setting up systems that mitigate infectious disease transmission and facilitate patient health.
To prevent the spread of HIV in the general population, I-TECH works with its clients and partners to craft BCC messages and produce media to educate, inspire, and persuade different segments of the population to change risk behaviors. I-TECH's particular expertise is in the development of culturally appropriate media products that can be used to enhance educational sessions, as outlined in accompanying facilitation guides. I-TECH media products have been honored with many awards.
I-TECH and its partners also develop PWP strategies to promote healthy living and reduction in risk behaviors among people living with HIV. These prevention efforts aim to diminish the spread of HIV to sex partners, injection drug use partners, and infants born to HIV-infected mothers, as well as protect the health of infected individuals. I-TECH's international work has applied three basic models for PWP—provider-based, specialist-based, and peer-based—each of which can be adapted to local settings. I-TECH works with each country and clinical setting to refine and tailor technical assistance materials and plans, and then assists these sites with implementing programs based on country or local plans.
Care and Treatment of Infectious Diseases
I-TECH provides technical assistance on the clinical care and treatment of HIV and related opportunistic infections on a continuum that ranges from direct patient service delivery, to training and mentoring health care workers, to the development of national policies and health systems infrastructure. In particular, together with ministries of health and other key stakeholders, I-TECH has developed numerous curricula and clinical mentoring programs to train health care workers to safely and effectively treat patients who have HIV and TB or other opportunistic infections at a level of care commensurate with national and international standards.
I-TECH has also assisted ministries of health to create national prevention and care and treatment guidelines for infectious diseases, which has lead to standardized care and treatment for HIV, including antiretroviral therapy (ART) dosing for adults and children.
Additionally, I-TECH has experience working alongside ministries of health and the United States Centers for Disease Control Global AIDS Program (CDC GAP) offices to develop infrastructure for HIV prevention, treatment, and care services. This includes building capacity for laboratory services and monitoring and evaluation activities in-country. I-TECH strengthens laboratory facilities by equipping labs with up-to-date materials and supplies, designing laboratory information systems, providing training, and supporting the introduction of new diagnostics.
I-TECH is also gaining experience in case management for patients who are beginning ART. Case management is a way to proactively identify those who may experience challenges adhering to their medications, and prevent their being "lost-to-follow-up" by designing an individualized network of support, helmed by a case manager, to help them meet their needs and stay on course with their treatment. Not only does this process improve patient outcomes, but it helps to reduce ART medication resistance.