Morocco – Testing: the first step towards ending HIV/AIDS

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ALCS IN MOROCCO – TESTING: THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS ENDING HIV/AIDS
November 26, 2015

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© Coalition PLUS (Daniel Hérard)

Ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December, the ALCS, a Moroccan member of Coalition PLUS, is organising its traditional National Testing Days in November in partnership with Morocco’s Ministry of Health. Objective: Facilitate access to free, anonymous HIV testing for the people of Morocco, in keeping with the objectives of the national strategic plan for the fight against AIDS.

During the previous edition of this event, 38,500 tests were administered in the 28 centres and 5 mobile units (buses) run by the ALCS in 40 towns and villages of the Kingdom. A formidable result made possible by the commitment of 50 volunteer doctors throughout the four-week-long operation.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are more than 30 000 persons living with HIV in Morocco, and 80% of them are unaware that they are infected since they have not been tested. Moreover, 60% of persons who have been diagnosed as HIV-positive only gain access to medical care at a late stage of infection. Yet, many studies have shown that someone who has been diagnosed early and provided with treatment from an early stage no longer transmits the virus thanks to the protective effects of the treatment. Testing, therefore, is definitely the first step towards ending the epidemic.

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Morocco – Improving access to care for migrant populations, thanks to ALCS

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– MOROCCO –
IMPROVING ACCESS TO CARE FOR MIGRANT POPULATIONS, THANKS TO ALCS

April 23th, 2014

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The 10th edition of the Assises Nationales de l’ALCS – @ALCS

Every two years, the Assises nationales de  l’Association de lutte contre le sida (ALCS) mobilizes players in the fight against HIV from all four corners of Morocco. More than 300 participants – policy makers, association leaders, national and international experts, human rights activists – come together for a few unique days of sharing and reflection.

The 10th edition of this major event took place from January 17-19, 2014, under the theme of “New immigration policy and access to health services.”

Now that the European Union has tightened border controls, Morocco is seeing the arrival of more and more regular and irregular migrant workers, asylum seekers, and refugees. The precarious living conditions and criminal violence experienced by the majority of sub-Saharan migrants to Morocco have engendered a need for medical and psychosocial services beyond what currently exists. By bringing their institutional and associational partners together, ALCS has created a forum to discuss practical ways of addressing these shortcomings. This issue has been among the institutional priorities of ALCS since 2005.

Marocco – National HIV testing day, organized by ALCS, a recipient organization of Fqsida

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– MOROCCO –
NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY, ORGANIZED BY ALCS,
A RECIPIENT ORGANIZATION OF FQSIDA
July 26th, 2013

P36a_CRM1According to UNAIDS estimates (2011), more than 70,000 people are currently living with HIV on Canadian ground, out of a population of nearly 35 million. To make an international comparison, still using UNAIDS as a source, there are half as many people living with HIV in Morocco; about 30,000 in a country that numbers 33 million people. Does this mean that our friends in Morocco are better informed than Canadians about HIV vectors, and so are better able to protect themselves? Nothing could be less certain.

In reality, one of the main explanations for this significant discrepancy is as simple as it is disturbing: Moroccan estimates are not reliable, since there is far less screening done in Morocco than in Canada due to a lack of financial and human resources. So, while 75% of HIV-positive people in Canada are aware of their HIV status and are therefore able to take their health in hand and break the cycle of new infections by using effective prevention measures, in Morocco, less than 20% of the total estimated number of HIV-positive people have been officially diagnosed. This means that the new cases of HIV infection counted worldwide each year are essentially the toxic fruits of a hidden epidemic.

Driven by this alarming observation, ALCS, a founding member of Coalition PLUS, has organized National HIV Testing Day every year for the past seven years, in close collaboration with the Moroccan ministry of health. The 2013 edition of this large-scale event, launched June 1st in Agadir in partnership with the National Council on the Rights of Man, is being carried out at 83 sites this year, spread over 60 cities and villages across the kingdom. In the end, more than 10,000 tests were done in a single day in ALCS testing centres and those of partner organizations. Testing was overseen by 90 consulting doctors, and supported by 400 volunteers.

Marocco: The ALCS’s risk reduction project with drug users

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– MOROCCO –
THE ALCS’S RISK REDUCTION PROJECT WITH DRUG USERS

February 8th, 2012

      

In recent years, Morocco has seen a rapid rise in drug use, especially the use of heroin by injection, and along with it an outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C. ALCS is Morocco’s main anti-AIDS association; recognized as an organization for public benefit, it is a founding member of Coalition PLUS and is involved in psychosocial care for people with HIV and proximity prevention programs with the populations most vulnerable to HIV (men who have sex with men, sex workers, and migrants). In response to this rise in cases, ALCS has taken action in risk reduction and in working to defend the rights of drug users.

In 2009, in the absence of institutional funding and given the urgency of the situation, ALCS secured funding first from Coalition PLUS, then from a Catalan agency and from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to set up a needle exchange program in the city of Tétouan. Street workers in a mobile unit distribute injection kits and other material to protect against HIV and hepatitis B and C, including aluminum foil and condoms. From 2009 to 2011, 35,000 syringes were distributed, with a return rate of 51%. Regular mobile testing campaigns for HIV and other STIs are also organized.

As for advocacy, a study carried out in 2011 with 300 drug users documented human rights abuses by police, the justice system, and the health care system. As a result, ALCS led a communications campaign on these violations, which led to a joint declaration by the principal risk reduction and human rights organizations calling for changes in policy.

Because of underfunding, this program suffers from the lack of a centre for drug users and for methadone therapy, but the ALCS is working hard to open one.

Marocco: 5th annual national testing day by ALCS, fouding member of Coalition PLUS

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– MOROCCO –
5TH ANNUAL NATIONAL TESTING DAY BY ALCS, FOUNDING MEMBER OF COALITION PLUS
June 16th, 2011

On May 14, 2011, the Association de Lutte Contre le Sida  (ALCS) organized the fifth annual National Day of HIV/AIDS Testing. The fifth edition was launched at El Mamounia Place in Rabat, under the sponsorship of Moroccan actor and producer Driss Roukh. The event was publicized in several different media, including the press, radio, both national television networks, Web sites, and Facebook.

Despite vigorous efforts, the annual number of tests performed in Morocco is still insufficient. The ALCS carried out 37,092 tests in 2010, making up 80% of all tests in Morocco; but diagnosing the 25,000 Moroccans who are HIV-positive and unaware would take a million tests per year.

In total, 6,936 people received the voluntary, anonymous, rapid, and free test on May 14. The day saw 81 testing sites in 39 cities and 14 rural municipalities welcome the public.

During the event, 60,000 brochures on HIV infection and 30,000 condoms were distributed.

The fifth edition of the National Testing Day, supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and by the Drosos Foundation* reached its objectives thanks in particular to the help of 90 volunteer physicians and 400 other volunteers working closely with the various partners. Numerous partner associations and organizations allowed the ALCS to use their space, making testing accessible in several regions.

Morocco is reaching a turning point in the epidemic with a high concentration of HIV cases in rural areas and among groups subject to vulnerable living situations. The ALCS is particularly concerned by the fact that HIV is concentrated among sex workers, men who have sex with men, and drug users.

The organizations in Africa

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THE ORGANIZATIONS IN AFRICA
July 2nd, 2010

 

Morocco: ALCS
ALCS, the first association formed to fight AIDS in the Maghreb and the Middle East, was founded in February 1988. ALCS carries out prevention activities and cares for people living with HIV/AIDS. It also defends the rights of the most vulnerable groups (male and female sex workers, migrants, prisoners, truck drivers, and drug users).

Democratic Republic of Congo: ACS/AMO-Congo
ACS/AMO-Congo is the first medical care management structure in the country. Thousands of AIDS orphans are supported by the Association. It also provides numerous community support services to people living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by HIV.

Burundi: ANSS
ANSS, the national association supporting people who are HIV-positive and living with AIDS is one of the first associations to combat AIDS in Burundi. Since 1993, it has been providing voluntary and free screening, clinical and psychosocial care management, and material and financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Mali: ARCAD/SIDA
Founded in Mali in September 1994, ARCAD/SIDA is an association that carries out research and provides home care to people living with HIV/AIDS. Tens of thousands of people affected are monitored at the association’s centres, where they benefit from free global healthcare, including antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. ARCAD/SIDA was also one of the first African associations to have set up a program to provide gay Malians with access to means of prevention and care.

Burkina Faso: REVS+
Created in 1997, REVS+ is one of the first Burkinabé associations in the fight against HIV/AIDS, in particular, through the global management of care of people living with HIV/AIDS. REVS+ has the objective of assuring the health and social and economic well-being of its members and the general public, in terms of sustained human development in the context of HIV/AIDS.