Dr. Thomas R. Frieden the director of CDC visits Merkato confidential clinic
On February 26, 2016, Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia /FGAE/ launched ART services and EMR SMART CARE at Merkato Sex workers friendly clinic.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Officials from, Federal HIV prevention and control office, CDC Ethiopia, Addis Ketema sub City Health office and police office were present at the event. In their respective remarks, all officials stated the importance of targeted HIV prevention and control effort to improve the health status of female sex workers and eventually halting HIV transmission across communities in the long run.
With the technical assistance from CDC, FGAE has been implementing a project called Strengthening HIV Testing and Counseling and Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI) Diagnosis and Treatment Services, which funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief/PEPFAR/. The program is aimed to contribute to the prevention of new HIV infections by increasing access to high quality HIV/AIDS/STI prevention, care and treatment services for female Sex workers. Through this fund FGAE is running HIV/STI prevention care and treatment in 10 sex workers worker friendly clinic /SWFCs/ established in five regions and two administrative council. The major activities being implemented by the clinics include individual and small group education, IEC material distribution, condom promotion and distribution, STI screening and management, HIV testing, HIV care and treatment, OI prophylaxis and management, family planning, TB screening ,medical services, including trauma care for victims of violence and referral. The interventions at SWFCs involve owners of bars and local drinking house owners, broker house agents and community police.
In his reflection, Dr. Frieden was grateful to thank for the tremendous work that is going on. He was also very impressed to see that these key populations are getting access to comprehensive HIV and STI services in confidential and friendly way. He especially remarked that he will discuss on the ART initiation to all HIV positive female sex workers regardless of their CD4 count.
Finally, he was thankful to FGAE for the wonderful work which is making a big difference.