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AIDS Care. 2009;21 Suppl 1:76-82. doi: 10.1080/09540120902923097.

Strengthening families through early intervention in high HIV prevalence countries.

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Child, Youth, Family and Social Development, Human Sciences Research Council, Durban, South Africa.


Families have been at the forefront of the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in high-prevalence countries. They have also borne the greatest costs associated with the epidemic, including impoverishment, which has strained their capacity to care for vulnerable members. Within this context, there is consensus that strengthening the capacity of families to care for children is one of the most important strategies for mitigating the impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on children's lives in high-prevalence countries. It is argued that evidence-based early intervention programmes that enhance caregiving and link caregivers with supports and services can play a pivotal role in strengthening families. Based on a systematic review, we recommend that two intervention strategies that should be given consideration within the context of high-prevalence countries, because of their demonstrated benefits in other settings, are nurse home visiting for first time, low-income pregnant mothers and their young children as well as early childhood development programmes for low-income children and families.

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