Centers Drive Higher Yield and Better Linkage to Treatment for FSWs in Ethiopia


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MULU is a USAID-funded HIV prevention project focused on key and priority populations in Ethiopia. Female sex workers (FSWs) are highly marginalized and underserved population with an HIV prevalence of 24%, 16 times higher than the prevalence among women in the general population. Drop-In Centers (DICs), which provide social support, HIV testing, and linkage to treatment services have been an effective strategy to identify and link FSW with care, and diagnose HIV-positive FSWs. The project established 54 DICs in areas with a high density of FSW in towns with more than 500 sex workers. A total of 25,068 FSWs received HIV testing services at DICs between Oct., 2014-Sept, 2015. Altogether 802 women were diagnosed with HIV, for a yield of 3.2%. Investment in and expansion of the DIC model is important if Ethiopia is to scale up testing and treatment and improve linkage to treatment among FSWs.