What is mainstreaming?
Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS is about change and it starts at the individual level where
it must be internalized by the people in the institution. The process of change
is from a vertical to a horizontal level. It is about a growing organizational consciousness
and culture towards integrating HIV/AIDS .
While there is no universally accepted definition of mainstreaming it is usually
understood as a process whereby a sector/organisation analyses how HIV/ AIDS can
impact it now and in the future, and subsequently considers how sectoral or organisational
policies, decisions and actions might influence the longer-term development of the
epidemic and the sector/ organisation. As a result, the organization/sector recognizes
the relevance of HIV and AIDS work and takes action to address it internally and
Three key questions guide mainstreaming in both the internal and external spheres
- How does HIV/AIDS affect your organization and your work?
- How to do no harm?
- How can you contribute to fighting HIV/AIDS by limiting the spread and mitigating
the impact of the epidemic?
Types of mainstreaming
The process of mainstreaming is classified into two broad categories which are not
1. Internal Mainstreaming is about adapting organizational policy and practice in
order to reduce the organisation’s susceptibility to HIV infection and its vulnerability
to the impacts of AIDS. The focus is on the internal staff and usually includes:
- Development of a workplace policy
- Training of all staff within the office/ workplace
- Provision of services related to prevention, care and treatment for staff members.
2. External mainstreaming refers to adapting the organization/ department’s core
programmes or work in order to take into account the reality of HIV and AIDS. This
aspect of mainstreaming seeks to strengthen the organisation’s core business, without
changing the focus to health care. This may entail
- identification of entry points where HIV could be mainstreamed into the ongoing
work of the organisation
- training and sensitization of the outreach workers/staff of the department/ministers
- inclusion of HIV in the detailed programme planning and implementation of the ministry/department.