REVS+ Burkina Faso – The challenge of caring for vulnerable communities

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REVS+ BURKINA FASO – THE CHALLENGE OF CARING FOR VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
February 15, 2017

In December last, REVS+ – a member of Coalition PLUS in Burkina Faso – organized a major workshop in Ouagadougou involving many non-governmental organizations active in the fight against HIV/Aids or in the area of human rights, along with many of some of the country’s decision-makers and opinion leaders. The objective of the encounter was to tackle the difficulties linked to providing care for the most vulnerable groups affected by the epidemic in Burkina Faso, and to ensure that these populations are less stigmatized and, at the same time, that greater consideration is given to their fundamental rights and health care needs.

Martine Somda – President of REVS+ and Administrator of Coalition PLUS
Credit : © Coalition PLUS

For Martine Somda, President of REVS+ and Administrator of Coalition PLUS, this workshop was « a victory in that it convinced the decision-makers and opinion leaders present to confront the issues of access to prevention services, care and HIV treatment for all citizens, regardless of gender, religion or sexual orientation and gender identity, with serenity, determination and pragmatism ».

Progress has certainly been registered in Burkina Faso in the fight against AIDS, with the HIV-prevalence rate dropping from over 7% in 1997 to 0.8% today, according to UNAIDS. However, important challenges remain with regard to providing care for the estimated 95,000 persons living with HIV in the country, especially in the most socially or economically vulnerable communities.

To sustain the progress made in the years-long fight against AIDS, continuous outreach to prisoners, children, handicapped persons, sex workers, men who have sex with other men and injectable drug users is an imperative. Unfortunately, the social environment in Burkina Faso is still hostile or indifferent to these communities.

Fqsida – A new director

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A NEW DIRECTOR FOR THE FQSIDA
February 15, 2017

We are happy to announce that Baya Touré has been appointed as general director of Fqsida. Baya knows the various issues linked to funding the fight against HIV and will help to give the Foundation a new impetus in an increasingly difficult context for member organizations, particularly with the budget cuts at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Key populations

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KEY POPULATIONS
February 15, 2017

In the current dynamic of the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the global level, the communities most exposed to the virus are male and female sex workers, men who have sexual relations with other men and injectable drug users. Because of the discrimination and even criminalization they are subjected to, these persons are, in fact, 10% to 24% more liable to be infected by HIV than the general population. What is at issue here is the limited access to prevention and care when their sexual practices or drug use are condemned by society and even the State. According to the terms of reference of the United Nations these are « key » populations in the epidemic.

Source : Pulsation – June 2016 – Coalition PLUS

Together, let’s build a world without AIDS or HIV

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aidsOn the occasion of World AIDS Day 2016, on the 1st of December, COCQ-SIDA* is launching a real rallying message to put an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Stressing the importance of collective work, collaboration and solidarity, this key message invites each and every one to learn about the reality of HIV and ways to protect themselves, and to contribute to the fight against the epidemic through donations, volunteering and pressure on public institutions and by fighting against discrimination and stigmatization.

We know now that it is possible to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but there is a long way to go to attain the objective set by UNAIDS for 2030, including in Quebec: invest in prevention, improve access to testing and care, adequately finance grassroot community work, support specialized lodging services etc.

Fqsida has taken ownership of this message so that it can be relayed on a large scale all over Quebec. That is why we are inviting each and every one of you to disseminate it and share it massively on social media in a campaign also aimed at challenging government bodies and elected officials so as to intensify efforts and increase investments.

* Coalition of community organizations from Quebec in the fight against AIDS

Our favourite season

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OUR FAVOURITE SEASON
September 8, 2016

Community mobilization against HIV knows no summer break! The teams deployed all their optimism and high spirits to prepare the summer activities, often reinforced by volunteers. Here is a small selection.

Journées communautaires Fierté 2016

The ACCM’s booth at Montreal 2016 Gay Pride

Awareness-building and information during the community day at Fierté Montreal 2016, a date not to be forgotten on the agenda of the fight against HIV. Even the downpours were powerless to dampen the enthusiasm of the men and women who ventured out to meet the public. ACCM alone distributed 10 000 condoms there!

We also need to highlight the formidable energy at the booth of the Maison Plein Cœur and its dynamic participation this summer in  various fund-raising activities, each more enjoyable than the other.

As it does every year, Gap-Vies conducted many outreach activities aimed at raising awareness and prevention during popular events in and around Montréal, such as Carifesta, les Week-ends du Monde, and sporting competitions.

For MIELS-Québec, a major activity was testing evenings in meeting places such as saunas and night spots, where anonymous, free and confidential testing was provided by a nurse and a social assistant, both of whom were always on hand to respond to questions.

Many weeks of reflection and work by ACCM culminated this summer in the launch of its new website and visual identity, a very beautiful accomplishment of which the ACCM team can be proud!

Sexe-au-menuSome organizations also relayed the COCQ-SIDA campaign, “Sexe au menu, combine tes ingrédients” (Sex on the menu, combine your ingredients). Here, men who are gay, bisexual, transsexual or who, here and there, like to have sex with other men are invited to rediscover six strategies for protecting themselves from the risk of HIV transmission: pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PPE), testing, condom-use, considering your viral load and negotiated safety – a campaign with an off-beat humour.

… And the new season promises to be just as active!

Objective 90-90-90: An ambitious target

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OBJECTIVE 90-90-90: AN AMBITIOUS TARGET
September 8, 2016

At the Durban conference, many actors in the fight against HIV/Aids denounced an enormous gap between the promises to end Aids and the reality on the ground, with funding insufficient and health systems on the brink of implosion.

Funding continues to be the main challenge facing the attainment of the 90-90-90 objective by the year 2020: 90% of persons with HIV knowing their status; 90% of persons tested receiving lasting antiretroviral treatment; 90% of persons under treatment having an undetectable viral load.

Today, 51% of persons with HIV do not know that they have the virus. Three out of four have no access to treatment, and the rate is 9 out of 10 among children. We have all the tools we need to close the gap, but the challenge continues to be huge because of the cost of medication, infrastructure costs, and the human and medical resources needed. Without real political will, we will not be able to attain the 90-90-90 target.

HIV: The tools are there, the funding needs to follow

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HIV: THE TOOLS ARE THERE, THE FUNDING NEEDS TO FOLLOW
September 8, 2016

Summer is coming to an end. A beautiful sun-filled summer that we hope you’ve been able to enjoy to the fullest. To mark the return to school and work, we offer you an opportunity to catch up on the latest on HIV for the summer season, with a selection of news that caught our attention, mainly from the 21st International Conference on HIV/AIDS, held in Durban, South Africa, from the 18th to the 23rd of July 2016.

coupleIt’s confirmed. People living with HIV whose viral load is undetectable cannot transmit the virus to their partners.
An american study published on the 12th of July in the Journal of the American Medical Association monitored 1,166 serodiscordant couples, a third of them same sex, for 16 months and found that there was no HIV transmission between partners when the viral load of the HIV-positive partner could not be detected. The medical treatment used to reduce the viral load can thus, without the shadow of a doubt, also be considered a very effective prevention method since it blocks the transmission of the virus. The relevance of this approach, known as Treatment as Prevention (TasP), has thus been confirmed once again, since it is a significant contributor to the decline of the epidemic.

PrEP “on demand”: A promising approach
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) continues to demonstrate its effectiveness and each new study shows that it considerably reduces the risk of HIV transmission. The Truvada medication, which prevents the virus from multiplying, was, moreover, approved by Health Canada as a preventive treatment. A Canadian study confirmed that, when taken continuously, it has a 98% rate of success in preventing infection of persons newly exposed to the risk of transmission.

PrEP “on demand”, a one-off prophylactic treatment prescribed during bouts of high risk of exposure to transmission, occupied a place of prominence in the debates at the Durban conference. A first study had established its effectiveness at 86%. A new French study, conducted from November 2014 to 2016 with 362 individuals, yielded results that were even more spectacular. Only one person – who, in fact, had interrupted the PrEP – was infected.

When well managed, PrEP “on demand” represents a promising approach for populations that are highly vulnerable to the risk of HIV transmission, have very high prevalence rates, and among whom the transmission chain seems difficult to break. Not only does it have fewer secondary effects than the continuous treatment formula, but it, moreover, leads to substantial savings which could encourage its development among the biggest pools of high-risk populations.

Objective 90-90-90: An ambitious target
At the Durban conference, many actors in the fight against HIV/Aids denounced an enormous gap between the promises to end Aids and the reality on the ground, with funding insufficient and health systems on the brink of implosion.

Funding continues to be the main challenge facing the attainment of the 90-90-90 objective by the year 2020: 90% of persons with HIV knowing their status; 90% of persons tested receiving lasting antiretroviral treatment; 90% of persons under treatment having an undetectable viral load.

Today, 51% of persons with HIV do not know that they have the virus. Three out of four have no access to treatment, and the rate is 9 out of 10 among children. We have all the tools we need to close the gap, but the challenge continues to be huge because of the cost of medication, infrastructure costs, and the human and medical resources needed. Without real political will, we will not be able to attain the 90-90-90 target.

Sources: La Presse, Ici Radio-Canada, Seronet

It’s confirmed. People living with HIV whose viral load is undetectable cannot transmit the virus to their partners

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IT’S CONFIRMED. PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV WHOSE VIRAL LOAD IS UNDETECTABLE CANNOT TRANSMIT THE VIRUS TO THEIR PARTNERS
September 8, 2016

coupleAn american study published on the 12th of July in the Journal of the American Medical Association monitored 1,166 serodiscordant couples, a third of them same sex, for 16 months and found that there was no HIV transmission between partners when the viral load of the HIV-positive partner could not be detected. The medical treatment used to reduce the viral load can thus, without the shadow of a doubt, also be considered a very effective prevention method since it blocks the transmission of the virus. The relevance of this approach, known as Treatment as Prevention (TasP), has thus been confirmed once again, since it is a significant contributor to the decline of the epidemic.

PrEP “on demand”: A promising approach

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PrEP “ON DEMAND”: A PROMISING APPROACH
September 8, 2016

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) continues to demonstrate its effectiveness and each new study shows that it considerably reduces the risk of HIV transmission. The Truvada medication, which prevents the virus from multiplying, was, moreover, approved by Health Canada as a preventive treatment. A Canadian study confirmed that, when taken continuously, it has a 98% rate of success in preventing infection of persons newly exposed to the risk of transmission.

PrEP “on demand”, a one-off prophylactic treatment prescribed during bouts of high risk of exposure to transmission, occupied a place of prominence in the debates at the Durban conference. A first study had established its effectiveness at 86%. A new French study, conducted from November 2014 to 2016 with 362 individuals, yielded results that were even more spectacular. Only one person – who, in fact, had interrupted the PrEP – was infected.

When well managed, PrEP “on demand” represents a promising approach for populations that are highly vulnerable to the risk of HIV transmission, have very high prevalence rates, and among whom the transmission chain seems difficult to break. Not only does it have fewer secondary effects than the continuous treatment formula, but it, moreover, leads to substantial savings which could encourage its development among the biggest pools of high-risk populations

MIELS-Québec: An app for free condoms

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MIELS-QUÉBEC: AN APP FOR FREE CONDOMS
May 8, 2016

For prevention to be successful, it’s indispensable to keep reminding young people of the importance of protecting themselves. That’s the key message of the Action-Condom campaign in Quebec, which now has a brand new tool: an application enabling young people to get free condoms.

condom QcQuick, a condom!
The Condom-Quebec app allows the quick geolocalization of youth community organizations that distribute FREE condoms.

Created by a group of community organizations to promote health to teens in the Capitale-Nationale region, among which appears MIELS-Québec, this tool also allows a quick search to find an intervenor to answer any questions. It also gives access at any time to sexual health information.

Protection is automatic
The Condom-Quebec app is a concrete tool resulting directly from the campaign. Through two unconventional and humorous video clips, this Internet campaign features young people in living contexts such as playing hockey and tattooing in which protection is automatic. The message? When you become sexually active, the condom reflex is also automatic!

To see the video clips
To download the app
(French only)