20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


MOPE355 - Poster Exhibition

Integrating gender-based violence screening and referral into health services to address the needs of vulnerable populations

J. Hewett1, V. Salter1, G. Mason1, S.A. McLeish2, A. Eckman3, M. Fitzgerald4, K. Morrison4

1Woman Inc., Kingston, Jamaica, 2Health Policy Project, Futures Group, Kingston, Jamaica, 3Health Policy Project, Consultant, Washington DC, United States, 4Health Policy Project, Futures Group, Washington DC, United States

Background: In Jamaica, marginalized and key populations, including men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers, experience high levels of HIV and gender-based violence (GBV). Stigma and criminalization contributes to violence experienced by key populations, and it undermines access to HIV prevention and health services. Integrated HIV and GBV services that are client-friendly would alleviate barriers to services, yet services and referral networks are inconsistent and largely unavailable.
Description: In 2012, Woman Inc., with support from the USAID- and PEPFAR-funded Health Policy Project, undertook a pilot intervention in Jamaica to examine the feasibility for integrating GBV and HIV services in health clinics through development of a screening and referral process. The intervention included adaptation and implementation of a GBV screening tool offered by providers to clients of the STI/HIV clinic where many clients are key populations (KP). It also included gender-sensitivity training for providers. Organizations working with KP were integrally involved in the referral network.
Lessons learned: The pilot resulted in increased understanding of sexuality, gender, and HIV for health facility personnel, strengthened linkages between KP and referral network agencies, and supported creation of a more complete referral system. It also helped to provide a more clear idea of the extent, type, and consequences of GBV in various populations. Providers reported it would be feasible and beneficial to integrate GBV screening into routine clinic processes in diverse types of facilities. They reported an increased appreciation for providing services to KP.
Conclusions/Next steps: As a result of the pilot, healthcare providers and the referral agencies were better equipped to work together for more gender-sensitive, client-responsive, cohesive HIV and GBV services. Using the GBV screening tool within the context of an HIV service delivery setting offered a feasible way to strengthen the integration of services. It also provides important impetus to initiate broader community-health system collaboration and improved response to HIV-related vulnerability.
A strengthened, integrated approach to client-intake and a more cohesive service delivery and referral system offers the opportunities to expand coverage and to strengthen the fragmented delivery of referral services. This integrated approach increases the potential to reach KP in Jamaica.

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