Advancing Partners & Communities at AIDS 2016

July 18, 2016 to July 22, 2016

Nicholas Persaud of Advancing Partners & Communities Guyana is presenting an abstract at this year's International Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa. View the poster here

Title: Developing and integrating gender based violence screening program within community organizations

Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 from 12:30 - 14:30.

Location: Poster Exhibition area, First Level (by the Arena Entrance)

Background: In Guyana, women and key populations (men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, sex workers) experience high levels of HIV and gender-based violence (GBV). Guyana's 2014 Bio-behavioral Surveillance Survey found that one quarter to one third of sex workers experienced rape (25.2% male, 25.1% female and 31.1% transgendered). Stigma and criminalization of these behaviors further exacerbate the experience of violence, and hinder access to HIV prevention and support services. Client-friendly, integrated HIV and GBV services would alleviate service barriers and expand referrals to support networks.

Methods: In 2014, Advancing Partners & Communities, supported by International Centre for Research on Women, commenced a nine-week pilot intervention at five sites to examine the feasibility of integrating GBV services within HIV services provided by community organizations. Pilot methodology involved adapting an existing GBV screening tool and referral program, including situational analysis, a resource booklet, a directory of services and program protocol. Key population members and PLHIV were offered screening while they accessed HIV counseling, testing or care and support services. Community organization providers received gender-sensitivity and GBV-specific training and onsite mentoring, allowing them to sensitize their local support organizations.

Results: Of the 111 persons screened (76 female, 35 male), 51% (56) had experienced some form of violence in the preceding 12 months. 80% (45) of these reported experiencing emotional violence, 52% (29) physical, 39% (22) sexual and 46% (26) psychological, while 25% reported experiencing all forms of violence. Women were four times more likely to experience violence than men. About half (29/56) of the clients who screened positive for GBV were referred to services outside the pilot site, but only 14% (4/29) confirmed accessing these.