Advancing on the ABCs: check out SAVE

I’ve been wanting to get this up as a regular post for a long time, so here we (finally) go.  In a post from several weeks ago called ABC in Uganda, I talked about the popular ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms) strategy for HIV/AIDS prevention.  Christopher Yuan posted a comment pointing me in the direction of another handy acronym: SAVE. *

S afe(r) practices
A ccess & Availability to treatment & nutrition
V oluntary Counseling and Testing
E mpowerment

SAVE is an anti-AIDS strategy promoted by ANERELA+ (African Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV & AIDS).  In my mind it’s especially interesting — and valuable — because it addresses aspects of HIV/AIDS that ABC doesn’t cover.  While ABC focuses on preventing the spread of HIV through sexual activity, SAVE encompasses other modes of HIV transmission, as well as treatment and care, education and awareness, and stigma reduction.

I heartily recommend visiting the ANERELA+ page on SAVE to get the full picture of what this approach involves, but here’s a little more information about each of the points.

Safe(r) practices

This includes the ABCs — abstinence, faithfulness in marriage, and correct and consistent condom use (which, by the way, is the expanded and more specific definition for “C”) — and adds other prevention methods, such as sterilizing medical equipment and taking steps to avoid mother-to-child transmission, among others.

Access & Availability to treatment & nutrition

This includes access to medication and other forms of treatment for HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions or diseases, as well as to healthy nutrition.  It also requires a supportive atmosphere, which includes solid informational resources and the reduction of stigma and discrimination.

Voluntary Counseling and Testing

This involves providing encouragement and support for the process of HIV testing.  HIV- individuals can be educated on how to avoid becoming infected, while HIV+ individuals can learn how to live healthy and positive lives themselves, and how to avoid infecting others.


This involves equipping people, especially women, both inside and outside faith communities with knowledge and skills to protect themselves against HIV infection.  It also means working to break down stigma and other barriers within communities, and promoting healthy living for everyone, whatever their HIV status.

* Thanks to Lucy Atim for her insightful comment about the merits of the SAVE strategy, which motivated me to finally write this post.  Check out the comments on ABC in Uganda.


~ by h.e.g. on July 24, 2008.

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