Mali: Night clinic at ARCAD/SIDA

October 9th, 2011

Dr. Alou Coulibaly saw the project take shape. He works every night at the night clinic. In the first 3 months of operation, he screened more than 700 sex workers, clients, and MSM.

In August 2010, the association opened a night clinic in Les Halles district of Bamako, known for its bus station, shopping center, nightclubs and brothels. Every day, the clinic welcomes vulnerable populations who come to learn about HIV transmission, get tested or receive treatment.

The ARCAD/SIDA care centers see over one hundred patients daily and provide more than 7000 people with antiretroviral treatment. They offer numerous other services such as access to counselling, testing, medical care, psychosocial support, training, research, and prevention.

However, offering support to vulnerable populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers has always been a challenge since they live and work mostly at night and cannot visit the center during the day.

Therefore, the idea of creating a facility that would be open when standard centers of care were closed was born. Once a week, each group (MSM, sex workers and the public) can enjoy a privileged moment to exchange with health care workers on the promotion of safer sex.

The clinic offers voluntary testing and, if the result is positive for HIV, delivers a comprehensive care package. The doors are open from 4:00 pm to midnight daily except Monday. The prevalence of risk groups is very high and people who are getting tested usually have no symptoms.

Also, night outreach activities in the neighbourhood and in brothels are used to connect MSM and sex workers to the clinic.

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