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Lekalana le le lomaganyang ditiro tsa AIDS (NACA)
Multiple Concurrent Partnership Campaign
26/10/09
Multiple Concurrent Partnership Campaign

Botswana, under the auspices of the National Prevention Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) developed the MCP programme to effect a meaningful and comprehensive prevention initiative.
 
The purpose of the national multiple concurrent partnerships (MCP) campaign plan is to fulfil the commitment under the “National Operational Plan for Scaling Up HIV Prevention in Botswana, 2008-2010” to a high-profile, national, multi-year behaviour change campaign specifically focussing on the acknowledged drivers of the epidemic, initially targeting multiple concurrent partnerships. High levels of multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships by men and women, with insufficient consistent, correct condom use, and combined with low levels of male circumcision, were identified as the key drivers of the HIV epidemic in the Southern Africa by an Expert Think Tank Meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in May 2006. The report of this meeting recognized the need to re-focus prevention efforts in the sub-region on these key drivers of HIV transmission
 
The rationale for a national campaign plan is to create common objectives, messages and resources that can be worked towards, communicated and leveraged in a genuinely national and multi-sectoral effort to address MCP and thus work towards the Vision 2016 of zero new infections. The campaign will carry the national HIV prevention branding currently being developed by NACA to demonstrate that it is an integral part of the country’s broader HIV prevention strategy.
 
The process of developing the campaign plan was, thus, a multi-sectoral one, involving national- and district-level policy-makers, managers and implementers from across the public sector and civil society. A full list of the partners involved in the development of the campaign plan can be found on the previous page.
 
What is MCP?
MCP describes situations in which an individual is engaged in sexual relationships with more than one person at the same time or over the same period of time. MCP contrasts with the pattern of sexual partnerships in which one sexual relationship ends before another begins and individuals are in only one sexual relationship at any one time; commonly described as ‘serial monogamy’.
 
It is important to draw a distinction between traditional polygamy, practiced within strict cultural parameters which actually serve to limit sexual networks to a man and his wives, and the multiple concurrent partnerships that are not culturally permitted and which result in the dense sexual networks that characterise today’s society.
 
The campaign addresses MCP in all its forms, but does have a strategic focus on young women and adult men. Messages address the key factors, some similar, some very different, that drive and motivate young women and adult men to engage in MCP. These include lack of knowledge about concurrency and HIV risk and related calculations that individuals make about the costs and benefits of having concurrent partners; consumerism; and gender, relationship, and peer-to-peer norms and values about sex and relationships. Another priority for the campaign has been the problem of inter-generational sex involving old men who use their status to have sex with vulnerable young girls, who feel pressured to consent.
 
The campaign combines approaches that create individual desire to adopt and maintain safe behaviours and those that create enabling environments for sustained behaviour change. Consumer-centred messaging have been developed to promote the relevant benefits of behaviour change and to shift the values and norms that shape target groups’ lives so that they feel supported to avoid having multiple concurrent partnerships rather than encouraged to do so. Throughout, messages will be developed and adapted with a view to the cultural dimensions of MCP.

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