The Lagos state government, through the Lagos AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) and the Heartland Alliance Limited by Guarantee (HALG), have launched One Stop Shop (OSS) Clinic at Ikorodu, all in efforts to expand HIV services among Key Populations (KPs) in the state. The commissioning of this facility brings the total number of the OSS facilities in the state to five.
According to the 2014 Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey (IBBSS) findings, KPs like high risk men, female sex workers and people who inject drugs have high HIV prevalence rates of 22.9 per cent, 8.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively.
The director general, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu, at the inauguration of the OSS clinic at Ikorodu, Lagos state, said the importance of HIV service delivery to KPs can never be over emphasized.
However, the uptake of HIV services by these set of people is negatively impacted by limited capacity/hostile attitudes of health care workers, stigma and discrimination, says Aliyu, adding that access to integrated HIV prevention and treatment services in facilities with well trained staff will improve uptake of HIV services among KPs.
“This One Stop Shop model which HALG has adopted, effectively increases uptake of prevention and linkage to treatment in more conducive settings that protect the privacy and upholds the dignity of KPs. It is known that before 2008, only about 1000 KPs were on treatment. However, with the commencement of OSS in Nigeria, we now have more than 37,000 KPs on treatment for HIV.
“As a tailored and integrated community-based clinical services model, I believe HALG, Nigeria and its partners have done a lot to address the various concerns of KPs, which include long waiting periods and rigid hours for service provision at the health facilities. The hostile attitudes of health care workers towards KPs are also appropriately addressed,” he added.
He however called on stakeholders to invest more time, political will, legal aid and funding in order to fully saturate the communities with culturally effective and client centered quality HIV services in Nigeria. “This we believe will lead to desired reduction of new HIV infections among key populations in Nigeria and enable Nigeria “end HIV/AIDS by 2030”, he added.
“This new OSS is one of few avenues to provide non-discriminatory and stigma-free services on HIV-related issues, gender-based violence, and human rights issues for key populations,” U.S. PEPFAR Coordinator Mark Giambrone said at the launch, adding that “As we know, these populations have the highest risk of contracting and transmitting HIV, yet they also have the least access to prevention, care, and treatment services.”