Bringing HIV Science to the People
and the People to HIV Science

Across PSI’s programs, we use a human-centered design approach to bring the most important scientific discoveries to the people who need them most. We know it’s not enough to have great diagnostics and medications. 

If we don’t design with and for the people who need these tools, we won’t reach them. 

Bringing HIV Science
to Communities

We communicate the most important and relevant scientific discoveries about HIV to everyday people using everyday language so that everyone can benefit.

The PSI-led STAR Initiative helped bring to market five WHO prequalified oral and blood-based HIV self-tests. This helped reduce the price of kits to under USD 2 each, generate demand, demonstrate implementation pathways, and support scale up across 14 countries in Africa—with recent progress made toward further expanding successful self-testing strategies in India and Indonesia. 

Helping people know their HIV status is vital if they are to get treatment and live well with the disease.

PSI’s Flip the Script Project developed a new way of communicating about HIV treatment, one that speaks to the benefits of ART that are most important to people living with HIV. The I CAN campaign is breaking negative associations with treatment and inspiring people to start and stay on ART.

When we told men it was possible to live a happy, healthy, normal life with HIV, they challenged us to prove it. We developed the Coach Mpilo model to give men that ‘living proof.’

Coaches are men who are living confidently with HIV and using HIV treatment well. They model to men struggling with their status that life with HIV can be rich and full and motivating them to overcome barriers to testing, treatment and disclosure. 

Bringing HIV science
to providers

Building on research about both consumers and providers’ lived experience, PSI is developing new tools to make it easier for health workers to explain concepts like viral suppression, as well as take care of themselves so that they can provide more compassionate care.

Viral suppression is a powerful concept that has the potential to improve clinical and psychosocial outcomes among people living with HIV. However, many healthcare providers have struggled to find clear and relatable ways to explain it.

PSI’s Mpilo project developed the B-OK Bottles, a simple visual tool that makes explaining the benefits of treatment and viral suppression fast, easy and compelling.

Men often prefer to test in the privacy of their homes rather than at the clinic.
HIV self-testing makes it easier for health workers to reach male partners of pregnant women to test for HIV.

In South Africa, PSI works with the National Department of Health to distribute self-test kits at clinics and hospitals throughout the country. 

Kits are free of charge and pregnant women are encouraged to take the test home for their partners. Uptake of HIV self-testing among male partners is as high as 80-90%. Learn more.

While the increasing focus on person-centered care within the HIV response is much needed, it can sometimes come at the expense of healthcare providers, who struggle with their own barriers and constraints and often lack the time, training and tools to provide empathetic care. 

Building on interviews and workshops with healthcare providers, PSI is developing new strategies and resources that aim to make the clinic a more supportive space for both patient and providers to improve patient-provider interactions.

Bringing HIV Science to
Government and donors

We accelerate global access to and scale up of HIV innovations by creating an enabling environment with regards to normative guidelines, national policies, and regulatory frameworks based on the foundation of research evidence.

Within the HIV response, there has long been an assumption that heterosexual men wouldn’t take a daily pill to prevent HIV. Our research with men told us they could and would. 

So we piloted PrEP for men through private clinics and saw not only strong interest and uptake, but also better continuation and effective use of HIV treatment than seen with other populations. Learn more.

Six years ago, there were no global guidelines on HIVST and only three countries had national guidelines. STAR’s research demonstrated that HIVST was safe, acceptable, accurate and cost-effective, and helped inform WHO normative guidelines and country level policies.

As of July 2021, 93 countries now report HIVST policies with increasing implementation – particularly as countries work to maintain HIV services during COVID-19 related disruptions.

Bringing thE People
to the Science

PSI amplifies the voices and experiences of people living with or at risk for HIV and uses this information to make HIV services more appealing, less stigmatizing and more convenient.

In Central America, PSI’s regional network member, PASMO, has pioneered the use of “social listening” to inform the HIV response.

By analyzing data on thousands of social media posts—on online channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube—social listening allows PASMO to detect new trends or myths related to understanding, usage and sentiments around HIV prevention services like PrEP.

This information is used to adjust programs in real time, ensuring they address myths and misconceptions, and are effectively tailored to the people PASMO seeks to reach.

Adolescent girls and young women are at high risk for both unplanned teenage pregnancy and HIV in Eswatini, a country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. But existing clinic services don’t work well for them.

With funding from a private philanthropist, PSI uses human-centered design to develop girl-powered, friendlier and more convenient ways for these young people to access life-saving care. Learn more

Follow the HIV science!

The best science in the world doesn’t lead to better health unless the people who need it can shape it and then understand it. Join us in bringing science to the people and people to the science.

To explore how, email PSI’s Director of HIV and TB Programs Nina Hasen [email protected]