The practice and activities of psychosocial support by communities and families for children and adolescents living with HIV

The Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT) has launched a new resource on the requirements for Psychosocial Support for Children and Adolescents.

Organisations need to support caregivers, families and communities to create conditions that allow children and adolescents to experience being cared for and loved as part of their day-to-day experiences in their families and communities. Young children affected by HIV and AIDS, and other major disruptions in their lives, have critical psychosocial needs that are best addressed when embedded in their everyday lives – through responsive parental care, a return to normalcy (such as routines and opportunities to play), and social participation (such as returning to school and in other community activities).

Psychosocial care, support and rehabilitation are all best provided by families and communities, sometimes with assistance. When families are supported to be able to provide care, few children need specialised psychological or social programmes.

Programmes that can effectively meet the needs of children in the context of HIV and AIDS and poverty are those that acknowledge, support and strengthen the commitment and care of families and households. These responses must be supported by constructive national policies and the mobilisation of resources. Within the mix of required responses, activities to protect, support and promote the psychosocial wellbeing of children and families are urgently needed.

Other resources recently published by SAT include:

Counselling Guidelines for Voluntary Medical male circumcision (VMMC) - a booklet that specifically addresses counselling on Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as an additional HIV prevention method.

Mainstreaming Gender in the Response to HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa - a guide for the integration of gender issues into HIV and AIDS response.

20 years of strengthening community HIV and AIDS competence: Lessons for the future - a reflection on the South-South learning over the past 20 years as experienced by SAT partners.  

These resources are available through the SAT website:,  through any of their country offices in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, or by writing to