Updated: Friday 30 May 2008

Background on Integrating HIV/AIDS into Hygiene Improvement Programming

Globally almost 40 million people now live with HIV/AIDS. As more people live with HIV and AIDS, comprehensive care, treatment and preventative services are necessary to help them these people live longer and healthier lives. Recognizing the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in protecting and caring for PLWHA, some organizations are integrating hygiene improvement into their HIV/AIDS programs. Hygiene improvement is a comprehensive approach to reducing diarrheal disease by promoting improvements in key hygiene practices (hand washing, treatment and safe storage of water, and sanitation/feces management), improving access to safe water and sanitation technologies and products, and facilitating or supporting an enabling environment (improved policies, community organization, institutional strengthening, and public-private partnerships). Studies have demonstrated that improved hygiene practices can reduce the risk of diarrhea by 30 percent or more, improving the quality of life for PLWHA as well as their families.