Most mainstream HIV-prevention programs focus on increasing knowledge related to HIV transmission and risky sexual behaviors. These initiatives often do not take into account gender issues or power dynamics, nor do they address the risk that marital partners face within their relationships. Such programs assume that marriage is a safe haven for women and that their HIV risk is minimal. In response, the Population Council launched the “Kalkidan” project to enhance couple communication, promote HIV prevention within marriage, reduce stigma and violence, and increase demand for HIV information and services, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission—which will collectively contribute to HIV-negative women remaining negative. Kalkidan (Amharic for “Promise”) was a community-based initiative launched for husbands and wives in low-income areas of urban Ethiopia. Respected local leaders were recruited from the project communities to serve as mentors. Eligible participants were invited to single-sex groups led by a same-sex mentor. Groups met weekly, and were periodically brought together for collective discussion. As this document details, the groups’ aim was to enhance couple communication, promote HIV prevention, reduce stigma and violence, and increase demand for HIV information and services.
Erulkar, Annabel and Hanan Nourhussein. 2014. "Kalkidan (‘Promise’) preventing marital transmission of HIV in urban Ethiopia." Addis Ababa: Population Council.