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Welcome to the 9th newsletter of Bridging the Gaps - Health and rights for key populations. 
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BRIDGING THE GAPS WILL CONTINUE TO BRIDGE GAPS FOR KEY POPULATIONS

We are excited that the Bridging the Gaps programme will embark on phase 2 and continue to improve the health and rights of three key populations: sex workers, people who use drugs, and LGBT people. In August 2015, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Bridging the Gaps will be one of their key sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS partnerships for the next five years (2016-2020).The continuation of Bridging the Gaps is of great importance because, despite the many achievements over the past years, key populations across the world are still disproportionately affected by HIV. Every year one million HIV transmissions occur worldwide among members of key populations and their partners – representing half the total number of new transmissions. Without rights-based policies and decriminalisation of key populations, barriers to essential HIV services will remain in place – and make it impossible to reach the global target of zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.

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JOIN BRIDGING THE GAPS AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AIDS AND STIS IN AFRICA (ICASA)

Are you planning to attend the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA)? Are you looking for good practices and lessons learnt when working with key populations? Then make sure you don’t miss out on our activities. Bridging the Gaps is present in various ways: visit our unique and stunning key population photo exhibition, our vibrant booth in the community village, and our satellite meeting ‘How to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030? Key populations are paving the way’. This meeting is a compelling manifesto about human rights and access to health care for everyone, including key population community members.
Download the flyer with a summary of our activities to bring to the conference.

LESSONS LEARNT ON INTEGRATED SERVICES FOR KEY POPULATIONS

The Bridging the Gaps programme aims to integrate specific services for key populations into general healthcare systems, in order to improve access to healthcare services for these groups. Linking data to the global strategy of the WHO on integrated and people-centred services for key populations, the document provides lessons learnt in our programme. Although integration of services is not new, evidence related to implementing and evaluating integration programmes is not readily available. In 2015 Bridging the Gaps, in collaboration with VU University Amsterdam, conducted qualitative research to collect best practices, lessons learnt and critical facilitators for integrating services. Data was collected in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan. Read the report here.

 

LESSONS LEARNT ON EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION IN PARTNERSHIPS FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS

This document provides lessons learnt regarding cross-key population collaboration within the Bridging the Gaps alliance over the past years. It can be helpful to organisations that want to improve collaboration and seek guidance in cross-key population programming. The study results show that collaboration between key population organisations can have a significant added value regarding capacity and ensuring a unified approach. The capacity of organisations and their collaboration towards a general approach to HIV and key populations are higher on average when all three key populations are represented by Bridging the Gaps. Read the report here.

RESEARCH REPORT: BETTER ACCESS TO SERVICES FOR ADOLESCENTS WHO USE DRUGS IN UKRAINE

Ukraine remains the country with the highest HIV prevalence in Europe and Central Asia. Young people who use drugs (PWUD) are one of the key populations with the highest risk of contracting HIV (33%) (UNICEF, 2011). According to UNICEF, there are 15,000 adolescent people who inject drugs (PWID) in Ukraine (UNICEF/ UISR, 2011). Only 24% of adolescent IDUs are reached by prevention programmes. Due to the war in Ukraine, access to HIV prevention, care, and support services has worsened. This study aims to define circumstances and effective interventions that contribute to reaching adolescent and young people who use drugs as well as improving their adherence to HIV prevention efforts. You can read the research report here.

A PHOTO EXHIBITION CALLING FOR MORE FOCUS ON KEY POPULATIONS IN ENDING AIDS

Rajesh, Bradley, Cindy and Thuan invite you to step into their world. They want you to experience what it is like to be a man who is using drugs and living with HIV in Nepal, to be a young gay man in Botswana, to be a female sex worker in Uganda, and to be a male sex worker in Vietnam. The Bridging the Gaps key populations photo exhibition features a unique mixture of photos taken by these community members themselves and photos taken by award-winning photographer Chris de Bode. The photo stories make the challenges key populations encounter and the HIV risks they face more visible. Visit our exhibition at ICASA in Zimbabwe (30 November-4 December) or in Amsterdam at the WAD conference (1 December).
Find out more about the photo exhibition on www.hivgaps.org/exhibition

VIDEO: TODAY’S YOUTH, TOMORROW’S KEY POPULATIONS?

Supporting adolescents at risk of HIV in Ukraine

Tetiana is 18 years old. She has a little baby. Her husband was actively using drugs and after three years she left him. Oleksandr is 17 years old. He is a talented boxer, and started experimenting with drugs for the first time when he was 11 years old. Svitlana is 22 years old. She has six brothers and sisters who all grew up in different orphanages. Now she has two children of her own. Being an adolescent means being exposed to various risks. Lack of access to information and services can have serious consequences for young people’s health and their future. Watch the video and see how Bridging the Gaps works to improve access for young people who use drugs to comprehensive medical, social, psychological and legal services in Ukraine.

LESSONS LEARNT ON ENGAGING UNDER-SERVED KEY POPULATIONS

This document describes lessons learnt in the Bridging the Gaps programme and steps to further strengthen the engagement of under-served key populations. The lessons learnt are based on programme reports and operational research conducted in Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Vietnam in 2015. The research findings reveal important factors that can serve to motivate under-served key populations to utilise services, as well as success factors for effective outreach work, for example peer-led outreach, active follow-up on referrals by phone calls, and accompanying clients to services. Outreach workers need to receive adequate training, support and salaries to ensure their effective engagement with under-served key populations. Read the report here.

 

RESEARCH REPORT: REACHING KEY POPULATIONS AND IMPROVING THEIR ACCESS TO HIV SERVICES IN KENYA 

Bridging the Gaps has conducted operational research in five of the sixteen programme countries: Vietnam, Costa Rica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. The operational research in Kenya identified good practices and lessons learnt within the Bridging the Gaps programme related to reaching under-served key populations with STI/HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Based on interviews with 95 members of key populations and 34 key informants (including healthcare providers, outreach workers, and programme managers), this study identifies strategies to improve access to these services. You can read the research report here.

 

RESEARCH REPORT: PROMOTING SAFE SEX AND EMPOWERMENT AMONG SEX WORKERS IN VIETNAM

Vietnam is a worldwide leader with respect to grassroots community based organisations (CBOs) for marginalised populations. These organisations are peer-led and implemented with the assistance of Vietnamese nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI). This report examines the experiences of Vietnamese sex workers who participated in peer-led CBOs. Sex worker CBOs in Vietnam were implemented in the early 2000s and adopt a harm reduction intervention model designed and implemented within the framework of the Bridging the Gaps programme. The findings of this research are pending publication. Therefore we cannot publish the report yet. Curious about the results? Please contact us.

BRIDGING THE RESOURCE GAP: A WIDE VARIETY OF STUDY REPORTS NOW ONLINE AVAILABLE

Are you looking for resources related to key populations? In the past four years, our partner organisations, students, and independent consultants have conducted a wide variety of studies related to the health and rights of key populations. The research reports include needs assessment reports, baseline study reports, master theses and a mid-term evaluation of Bridging the Gaps. They offer a wealth of knowledge about needs, gaps, good practices, and lessons learnt for managers, implementers, technical support providers and programme officers of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS programmes for key populations. Visit our website for an overview of our research reports.

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