On June 4-8, the PANCAP-K4Health partnership hosted a south-to-south learning exchange in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The learning exchange included nine individuals representing national AIDS programs and civil society organizations (CSOs) from four countries in the region - Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago. The goal of the learning exchange was to share the successful HIV programming being applied at Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN), specifically in reaching and delivering care to key populations.
THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HIV RESPONSE
In 2016, the Dominican Republic reports an HIV prevalence of 1% with an estimated 67,000 persons living with HIV and AIDS and 2500 new infections. Prevalence is significantly higher for key populations - men who have sex with men(MSM) at 7.1% (2013) and female commercial sex workers at 3.7% (2013). Further, the MSM population is estimated at 120,000 (2012) and transgender, 8900 (2012). In 2017, on the 90-90-90 continuum of care, the Dominican Republic reported 77% of persons living with HIV knowing their status, 52% receiving antiretroviral therapy, and 43% achieving viral suppression.
COIN is a private, social interest institution of the Dominican Republic, created on November 28, 1988, by a multidisciplinary team of people with shared experience in community and health work. Born as a result of the emergence of the HIV / AIDS epidemic, and trafficking in persons in the Dominican Republic, COIN has concentrated its efforts on implementing educational programs.
The programs focus on prevention and health care and social discrimination, as a way to implement strategies of innovative approaches, effective with these groups, and in turn contribute to the empowerment of them. In their work with marginalized populations, COIN promotes the integration of the community in the identification of their needs and problems and works with them to define policies and execute solutions to these needs and problems.
OPENING OF LEARNING EXCHANGE
Mr. Santo Rosario, Executive Director of COIN, welcomed participants and expressed his commitment and support in ensuring a successful learning exchange.
Ms. Julia Henn, Director, Health and HIV/AIDS Office, USAID/Eastern and Southern Caribbean, expressed her gratitude for being a part of the learning exchange. She applauded the work of the PANCAP-K4Health partnership and emphasized the important role of knowledge management in achieving the regional goals of 90-90-90 and ending AIDS. She urged participants to closely examine the DR’s program, take away applicable best practices, and to continue to innovate for success.
Country Coordinating Mechanism
A special session was convened with members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) who shared their experience in working together to coordinate and provide oversight to The Global Fund HIV project. Civil society organizations in the CCM represent a coalition of 15 CSOs. Key population representatives in the CCM shared their process of selection to the CCM and their experience in representing their constituency at this level.