Published on 28/05/2022

Community dialogue sessions on access to HIV services

ENDA Santé, in collaboration with FHI 360, organised workshops on stigma, gender-based violence and improving the environment for the fight against HIV/AIDS. The dialogue sessions took place simultaneously in Dakar, Mbour and Saint-Louis.

They involved actors from different sectors (lawyers, journalists, religious leaders, security forces, traditional communicators and actors in the HIV response).

These actions are part of the EpiC project, funded by USAID through the PEPFAR programme and implemented in Dakar, Kaolack, Kolda, Saint-Louis, Thiès, and Ziguinchor. Its objective is to strengthen the legal and policy environment to increase access to prevention, treatment and care and to reduce the impact of HIV on vulnerable populations.

In Senegal, the HIV epidemic is concentrated. HIV prevalence is low in the general population (0.5%) and high in groups vulnerable to HIV. Due to stigma and discrimination, these vulnerable groups do not have access to prevention and treatment services. This situation is not conducive to the achievement of the Three Ones.

ENDA Santé, which is responsible for implementing support activities on the themes of gender-based violence and human rights within the framework of the EPIC project, has initiated critical dialogues with community actors from different sectors on the enabling environment for access to HIV services in the implementation areas.

The objective of these dialogue sessions is to contribute to the establishment of a sustainable collaborative dialogue by community actors for a favourable environment for access to and use of HIV testing, prevention and care services for vulnerable groups and for the achievement of the Three Ones.

Action plans developed

Lawyers, defence and security forces, media professionals and religious leaders each have a particular role to play in the response to HIV. Through in-depth reflection, these actors have identified barriers to accessing HIV care services, especially among groups most at risk of HIV. They also proposed solutions and developed action plans together. 

 The exchanges enabled me to better understand certain provisions of the law seen by those involved in the response as being obstacles to the response to HIV. This awareness allows me to have a different view and attitude on the issue of HIV 

                         Adjudant Chérif Diallo Guédiawaye Police Station

Due to lack of resources, mass activities, such as social mobilisations, mass campaigns have been rare for several years. The response is now oriented towards the most exposed targets. These so-called inclusive activities make it possible to mobilise and engage all these actors around the new challenges of the response to HIV.

The EpiC project strengthens and broadens ENDA Santé's focus on HIV and contributes to national efforts to combat HIV.