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Where We Work

Central America (PASCA)

The full PASCA website is available at

The USAID | Program for Strengthening the Central American Response to HIV/AIDS (PASCA) (2008–2013) strives to foster a strong, unified regional approach to the epidemic. PASCA is guided by three core principles—forging linkages, fostering leadership, and advancing evidence-based decisionmaking. The project uses a combined country and regional approach to achieve its objective. The project implements country-specific activities in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama, as well as region-wide initiatives that include Honduras and Nicaragua.

PASCA bolsters the regional response to HIV through three main strategic objectives: 

  • Enhancing implementation of regional and national HIV/AIDS strategic plans
  • Supporting effective implementation of national advocacy agendas
  • Mitigating HIV/TB co-infection by strengthening collaboration between HIV and TB programs and by placing co-infection on the regional agenda 

In addition, the project provides support for the Central American HIV/AIDS/STI Congress (CONCASIDA), builds the capacity of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism, and provides training and assistance for the design and implementation of Global Fund projects. To learn more about PASCA’s current activities or to access information about HIV in the region, please visit the project’s website at Content is available in Spanish and English.

PASCA continues and builds on the work undertaken under Task Order 1 of the Health Policy Initiative (HPI-TO1) (2005–2008). HPI-TO1’s Central American Program contributed to an enabling policy environment for HIV in the region by providing technical assistance and training in strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and by the supporting the Global Fund’s country and regional projects. In Panama, the project’s support led to the adoption of the country’s first National HIV/AIDS Policy and the establishment of a multisectoral National HIV Control and Prevention Commission (CONAVIH). In Guatemala, the project supported the design and launch of the HIV M&E plan, as well as carried out the costing for the National Strategic Plan—a key element for the development of Global Fund projects. HPI-TO1 also helped Costa Rica devise a National HIV/AIDS Response M&E Plan and contributed to Round 8 proposals for the Global Fund in Panama and Guatemala, supporting the reactivation of Panama’s Country Coordinating Mechanism in the process. In El Salvador, the project provided technical assistance in the successful submission of the Global Fund proposal in Round 8 and Phase III in HIV as well as the design of the National Operational Plan for 2008. 


Costa Rica Adopts National Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for HIV. In Costa Rica, little is known about the national impact of HIV prevention, care, and control efforts because, until recently, the country lacked a standardized system for monitoring and evaluating the national HIV response. On July 24, 2008, the Minster of Health, Dr. María Luis Ávila, unveiled the 2007–2010 National HIV/AIDS Response M&E Plan. By systematizing, standardizing, and sharing information generated by different actors, the plan will contribute to evidence-based decisionmaking and improve the effectiveness of the nation’s efforts to fight HIV. HPI-TO1 supported the policy development process by mobilizing key actors, building consensus, and defining indicators.

Panama Unveils National HIV/AIDS Policy. In July 2008, Panama’s Minister of Health, Dr. Rosario Turner, and other government officials launched the National HIV/AIDS Policy. The policy—which focuses on prevention, comprehensive care, community participation, and the protection of human rights—demonstrates the government’s commitment to promoting an integrated response to the HIV epidemic. The policy will facilitate the allocation of funds for the national HIV response and assist civil society, government agencies, and international organizations in monitoring that response. HPI-TO1 helped the Ministry of Health to craft the plan by mapping different actors and sectors involved in the national HIV response, organizing workshops to draft the policy, and facilitating its adoption.

Last Updated 1/18/11