I ACT strives to reduce the “loss to follow-up” from the
time of HIV diagnosis to successful commencement of ART.




Integrated Access to Care and Treatment, I ACT, was founded in 2009 with the mission to empower people living with HIV (PLHIV) and others who are affected by HIV to make positive lifestyle changes.



7.8 million people are living with HIV in South Africa. 37.9 million people are living with HIV

45 million people are living with Diabetes in South Africa. 463 million people are living
with diabetes worldwide.

In South Africa, more than 1 in 3 adults live with high blood pressure and it is
responsible for 1 in every 2 strokes and 2 in every heart attacks. An estimated 1.13 billion
people worldwide have hypertension.


Today I ACT serves over 200,000 people across all provinces of South Africa

  • Group meetings, educational sessions and other
    opportunities for peer-based learning
  • Referrals to partner
    , health facilities and other supportive services
  • Comprehensive training, education and support for I
    ACT facilitators


100% of facilitators report that the groups helped people who were newly diagnosed to
better manage HIV

Our core curriculum includes
important information about:

  • HIV/AIDS, opportunistic infections and tuberculosis
  • Treatment literacy and adherence
  • Acceptance of status
  • Disclosure
  • Nutrition and healthy living principles
  • Prevention with positives

  I ACT is led by a National
Programme Director and coordinated by the South African National
Department of Health
and South Africa Partners. Provincial
Departments of Health and partner organisations guide I ACTʼs implementation and growth.

Read more about I
ACT in the
Programme Overview >





The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention South
, the Eastern Cape Department of Health, South Africa Partners,
the Masihlanganeni Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (MANEPHA), Eastern Cape Regional Training Centre and Justice Resource Institute
, together with Africare, design Healthy Living Support
Groups (HLSGs) to address the psycho-social needs of newly diagnosed people living with HIV.

15 MANEPHA members facilitate HLSGs in the Eastern Cape as part of a
year-long pilot project: 100% of facilitators report that the groups helped people who were
newly diagnosed to better manage HIV.
Partners finalise and name the programme, “Siyakhathala – Basic Care
Package,” (BCP). BCP is successfully implemented in the Eastern Cape, coordinated by South
Africa Partners and the Eastern Cape Department of Health. Read more about
Basic Care Package in the
Process Document >
The BCP curriculum is evaluated, revised and officially re-launched as
Integrated Access to Care and Treatment, I ACT, a national effort serving all provinces of South
Africa, coordinated by South Africa Partners and the National Department of Health.
South Africa Partners, in partnership with the Department of Correctional Services, adapts the I ACT
curriculum to create Strengthening Prevention Services, STEPS, an HIV prevention strategy that
serves offenders and staff members in
correctional facilities
Partner organisations customise the I ACT curriculum to serve children and adolescents.
STEPS joins a national effort to support capacity development within the
National Department of Correctional Services.


South Africa Partners becomes a Technical Assistance Partner to the NDOH with the implementation of Adherence Guidelines. The LinkCARE programme came out of the I ACT programme. Support groups were prioritised prior to decanting of Patients. South Africa Partners becomes a Technical Assistance Partner to NGO’s implementing Key Populations Programmes funded by CDC on Quality Assurance Quality Improvement activities


DREAMS Project (Determined. Resilient. Empowered. AIDS-Free. Mentored and Safe initiative for young girls and women). SA Partners supported Community Based Organisations into the implementation of the DREAMS Project.


STEPS 3, SA Partners awarded a new programme to implement in DCS which is Strengthening Combination Prevention and Testing Services among Inmates and newly released





We empower people living with HIV and others affected by HIV to make positive lifestyle changes.



We strive to:

  • Increase early identification, referral and retention of
    newly diagnosed PLHIV into care and support services
  • Empower newly diagnosed PLHIV to advocate for and manage
    their health
  • Strengthen the active engagement of PLHIV, families,
    health care providers and communities in continuum of care and support


Our vision is to:

  • Retain PLHIV in healthcare systems
  • Reduce loss to follow-up
  • Mitigate stigma related to HIV, sexually transmitted
    infections, opportunistic infections and tuberculosis
  • Support treatment adherence
  • Assist with referrals and strengthen healthcare systems
  • Reduce AIDS morbidity and mortality
  • Prevent new infections of HIV, sexually transmitted
    infections and tuberculosis

We are committed to:

  • Intentional involvement of PLHIV at all programme and
    service levels
  • Enhancement of PLHIV knowledge and skills
  • Strengthened referral systems and complementary care
  • Empowerment of PLHIV to be their own health advocates
  • Encouragement of communities to take responsibility for
    health care improvement
  • Connection among PLHIV and care and support





Anthony Diesel, RN, MBA

Country Director


Sithembiso Msomi

Programmes Director


Miriam McDonald

National Programme Manager


Thubelihle Ngubane

National Training/QAQI Manager


Thembi Ngubane-Zungu, RN, MPH

Deputy Country Director

If you are interested in implementing I ACT in your community, please review our Frequently Asked Questions and then email info@iactsupport.org or contact your local partner organisation  




Facilitators are passionate and dedicated peer leaders.



Facilitators are based in local communities and managed by lead partner organisations, and/or the Provincial
Departments of Health. Most facilitators hold other jobs and engage as facilitators to better offer patient or client services within their health facilities, community-based or faith-based organisations.

Many facilitators are PLHIV and former participants in I ACT group meetings, in support of the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV and AIDS (GIPA) Principle.

Please email info@iactsupport.org for more information about becoming an I ACT facilitator.   Facilitators use the core curriculum to lead:

  • Public educational sessions
  • Open and closed group meetings
  • Additional peer-learning activities

  I ACT facilitators typically start up to 10 new groups and work with over 100 new participants each year. Each group completes 6 sessions of the I ACT curriculum.  

Download the I ACT Implementation Guide to learn more about facilitator selection and job

Download the STEPS Implementation Guide to learn more about facilitator selection and expectations
All facilitators must complete extensive training courses to learn expert knowledge of the I ACT and/or STEPS curriculum and effective management of group dynamics. Facilitators also receive formal mentoring to better achieve both personal and professional growth.   In addition, facilitators are encouraged to participate in 10-part Supervision and Support programme, named Mirror Sessions, to prevent burnout and to address individual learning needs that arise during the facilitation process.   Please Login before downloading the complete I ACT, Adolescent I ACT or STEPS facilitator training curricula, mentorship guideline and Mirror Sessions workbook.  


Frequently Answered Questions

What is I ACT

I ACT is an acronym for Integrated Access to Care and Treatment, a programme
that empowers people living with and affected by HIV and other chronic diseases such as
Diabetes, Hypertension, etc. It aims to encourage positive lifestyle changes that impact
their productivity and quality of life for the better. 

I ACT is provided through:

  • A Facilitated group meeting, or one on one counselling, based on a proven
  • Referrals to health facilities, partner organisations and other
    types of support groups


What is STEPS

STEPS is an acronym for “Strengthening Prevention Services”. STEPS aims to reduce
infectious and other preventable diseases from being spread or acquired. STEPS was originally
developed to be implemented in a prison setting in 2011, and has over the years been adapted
to also be used in other areas where prevention messages are needed.


What is Sensitisation

Sensitisation literally means making people ‘sensitive’ about an issue, so that
they can react and respond in a positive manner. The intention of this training is to
sensitise people involved in correctional facilities, and those working with key populations,
with regard to sexuality, gender, sexual behaviours, stigma and discrimination, violence and
abuse, human rights and substance dependence.


What is QA/QI

QA/QI stands for Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement. SA Partners developed a programme
that supports the review, assessment and improvement of programmes aimed at working with Key
Population groups (MSM, LGBTI, Sex workers, Inmates) in South Africa. This programme has been
adapted so that it can be used for all programmes and applied in many settings.


What is the I ACT curriculum?

The core curriculum includes:

  • Understanding HIV/AIDS, opportunistic infections, TB and other non-communicable diseases
    (e.g. Diabetes)
  • Treatment literacy and adherence to the medication related to the specific disease.
  • Acceptance of status as someone living with HIV, TB or a chronic condition
  • Disclosure and Building a core support network
  • Nutrition, psycho-support, adolescent issues, and other healthy living principles
  • Living positively and being an advocate for other’s better health. Prevention


Why should I participate in I ACT?

I ACT helps people to learn, share and live positively with their diagnosis

Skilled facilitators ensure
that I ACT participants gain:

  • A sense of belonging and a safe and comforting space to share feelings
  • Access to accurate information
  • A community of support and hope.


How do I participate in I ACT?

Participants often first connect with I ACT by attending an educational session. Educational
sessions are on specific topics and are held in locations where people might gather,
including the waiting rooms of local health clinics, correctional centres and other closed
settings. They may also be linked to a group through the clinic service and a friend who has
been part of previous support activity.

A link to the I ACT support network: info@iactsupport.org


How do I become an I ACT facilitator?

Please email info@iactsupport.orgfor more
information about becoming an I ACT facilitator. There are NGO’s that implement the
programme, and should you be interested you will be linked to those that are available.


Where is I ACT offered?

I ACT is part of the National Adherence Guidelines for Chronic Diseases, HIV and TB policy
that is implemented in the local department of health facilities. It is also available
through certain community based organisations.

For more information about your nearest I ACT programme, please email info@iactsupport.org


Where do I get the I ACT curriculum?

The I ACT and STEPS curricula and facilitator training manuals are available to interested
organisations and individuals. Register to be given access these and other
materials available on this website. After registration you will the administrator will give
you access to the links on this site. OR contact info@iactsupport.org

We want to adapt the I ACT curriculum and other materials for our
organisation’s use. Who do we contact for permission?

Please read our Terms of Use  for more information about permitted and not-permitted uses of
our curriculum, training manuals and all other materials available on this website.

Please email
for more information.


What is the National Department of Health Adherence Guidelines?

These guidelines aim to strengthen access to appropriate services and differentiated care strategies in order to improve clinical outcomes. The guidelines also assist service providers to ensure that people with chronic diseases are linked to care, retained in care and supported in adhering to treatment. To ensure that the STEPWISE APPROACH TO ADHERENCE ACROSS THE CONTINUUM OF CARE is realized, I ACT topics are used in group sessions and to individuals to educate on chronic conditions.