XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Using Afro-Caribbean hairdressing salons as mobilisation platforms to raise awareness on HIV in the black community in Saint-Denis, the largest town in the suburbs of Paris, France

J. Pavie1, R.S. Bucknall2, S. Sempé3

1AIDES, Prevention, Saint-Denis, France, 2AIDES, Harm Reduction, Saint-Denis, France, 3AIDES, Paris, France

Issues: Saint-Denis is home to one of the largest Afro-Caribbean migrant communities in France. In this area, 64.5% of HIV positive test results are from this community. It is critical to give this community counseling, prevention materials and access to accurate information on the basics of HIV. AIDES, the largest HIV community-based organization in France, implemented the first prevention outreach programmes in St Denis. Using the principal of empowerment, AIDES activists set up partnerships with Afro-Caribbean hairdressers, where Afro-Caribbean people socialize and can be reached by AIDES.
Description: Within 6 months; AIDES managed to get the workers of 9 hairdressing salons to discuss HIV related health topics with clients. The first step was to inform and train the hairdressers on HIV. Then we provided different tools to facilitate the discussions on these taboo topics. Finally, once a week, AIDES activists visited the salons to continue the workers' training, offer the clients individual interviews on prevention, supply the salons with prevention materials, and facilitate debates. Within 3 months, AIDES had contacts with 307 different people (185 men 122 women), and done 117 prevention interviews. 435 brochures, 3,510 male condoms, 345 female condoms were distributed by the hairdressers.
Lessons learned: The hairdressers' involvement helped the clients to accept prevention the interviews done by AIDES. More contacts than expected were made with men. It was quite difficult to find confidential and quiet rooms to do the interviews. Managers of the salons were the key people to mobilize in order for the project to work. Hairdressers don't have time to go to group training sessions. Visiting the salons regularly is therefore crucial to complete and follow up one-to-one training so that the hairdressers do not get overwhelmed with clients' more and more precise questions.
Next steps: Develop the project with other salons showing interest in the project.

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