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A member of Serenity Wellness Center's program is tested for HIV. | Photo Courtesy of AHF

HIV Services & Rehabilitation Unite in Zambia

By Fiona Ip (Courtesy of AHF)

With substance abuse among Zambian youth becoming increasingly high, AHF Fund grant recipient Serenity Wellness Center has partnered with AHF Zambia to pair HIV testing and counseling services with Serenity’s 30-day in-residence rehabilitation programs for substance abuse. The initiative is slated to run from June through December of this year, 2020.

“This partnership is focusing primarily on youth who are struggling with substance abuse, since drug use and higher rates of HIV infection often go hand-in-hand,” said Maambo Mweemba, AHF Zambia Advocacy & Policy Manager. “We’re proud to work with Serenity to show that there can be innovative ways to deliver HIV services outside of traditional methods and clinic settings. I’m confident that these youth will complete their programs and gain the confidence to be more productive in their communities.”

Serenity Wellness Center is currently the only known private organization providing rehabilitation services in Zambia, which is typically handled by the government.

Dr. Mabvuto Kango, AHF Zambia Country Program Manager, speaks at the opening ceremony.
Dr. Mabvuto Kango, AHF Zambia Country Program Manager, speaks at the opening ceremony. | Photo Courtesy of AHF

“Helping substance abusers has not been a high priority among donors in Zambia, as there is more focus on prosecuting than reforming through rehabilitation,” added AHF Zambia Country Program Manager Dr. Mabvuto Kango. “But, with help from the AHF Fund, this joint venture with Serenity will help keep youth HIV-free and deter them from using harmful substances that hamper their success and further endanger their lives.”

AHF has been working in Zambia since 2007 and currently provides HIV care and treatment to 86,609 registered clients.