ICASA 2008: Free condoms in hotels as part of HIV prevention initiative
04 December 2008
As 5000 delegates from across Africa and the world gather in Dakar this week, condoms are being made freely available for delegates in hotels in the city as part of a HIV prevention drive.
The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) and UNAIDS have teamed up with the Senegal Hotel Industry around an HIV awareness initiative.
The 15th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa which runs until Sunday this week has drawn aapproximately 5000 delegates and several hundred journalists from all over the world to Dakar. The event presents an opportunity to engage the local hotel industry on issues related to HIV. The hotel industry is a key player in the response to AIDS as it reaches a wide and diverse audience, including employees, with HIV prevention information.
A kit has been distributed in all hotels which includes condoms provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); a flyer to present the initiative; and a copy of a short prevention film directed by Accor and Air France for broadcast in hotel rooms or lobbies.
The 18 ICASA-accredited hotels were approached to voluntarily take part and they have the option to customize the content according to their specific needs. Additional hotels in Dakar are also free to join.
Two fold initiative
As well as a specific HIV prevention campaign during ICASA, the initiative also will develop an HIV action plan over the long term. This will focus on delivering workshops for senior management (such as hotel managers and human resource managers) to help participating hotels develop a practical plan to respond to AIDS in their own organization.
Training sessions for staff will also be developed and will focus on the risks of HIV in the hotel industry. These sessions will help them understand their respective roles in the practical implementation of an HIV action plan within their organization. UNAIDS is providing seed money for the initial trainings.
Three local non-governmental organizations ENDA Tiers Monde/Santé, Sida Services and ACI Senegal are the technical partners for the implementation of the training process and the follow up with hotels. These NGOs will conduct an initial mapping of the HIV vulnerability of each hotel. The analysis will be conducted with the participation of hotel personnel.
This is a continuation of the HIV awareness initiative by UNAIDS and the hotel industry during the International AIDS Conference held in Mexico City in August 2008 which reached out to over 5000 employees within 50 hotels.
It’s also part of a global HIV prevention campaign conducted by the GBC within their tourism and travel platform: disseminating HIV awareness videos in airport lounges and on TVs via TV5 Monde, developing a prevention campaign online with a fun quiz on the website of Europe Assistance, conducting voluntary counselling and testing mobile clinics at the Sofitel Terenga, Novotel and Club Med Cap Skirring.
On 2 December, a meeting took place at the Sofitel Dakar with 6 hotel managers to gather their suggestions and define the scope of the project and the roadmap. The analysis of hotels’ specific needs, as well as the workshops and training sessions will start after ICASA and spread over 2009.