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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(21)2022 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2090180


When the COVID-19 pandemic manifested urgent concerns were raised around the globe about the increased risk that public health restrictions could pose for victims of domestic abuse. Governments, NGOs and community services swiftly responded to convey the message that services for victims were operational and restrictions did not apply to those fleeing harm. This paper reports on the various approaches used to communicate this public health messaging during COVID-19, further highlighting strengths and learning which could inform future crises messaging. It utilises data gathered through a rapid review and mapping of policy and practice initiatives across 4 high-middle income countries: UK, Australia, South Africa and Ireland. Four themes were identified: (1) Top-down: National media messaging; (2) Top-down: Political leadership; (3) Traditional media vs. social media and (4) Bottom-up messaging: Localised, community-based messaging. It was found that a strong, clear top-down stance on domestic abuse was perceived as beneficial during COVID-19. However, a stronger focus on evaluation, reach and impact, particularly for minority groups may be required. Newer forms of media were shown to have potential in conveying messaging to minority groups. Community and grassroots organizations demonstrated their experiential knowledge in reaching target audiences. Harnessing this expertise for future crises messaging may be valuable.

COVID-19 , Social Media , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Government , Pandemics , Public Health
AIDS Behav ; 26(9): 2907-2919, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1729329


Female sex workers (FSWs) in South Africa experience a uniquely high prevalence of HIV. We describe the HIV cascade of care (CoC) in FSWs in South Africa, and explored service utilisation at sex work programmes. A cross-sectional, study enrolled FSWs across 12 sites in South Africa. Participants were recruited using chain-referral method. Inclusion criteria: ≥ 18 years, cis-gender female, sold/transacted in sex, HIV positive. 1862 HIV positive FSWs were enrolled. 92% were known positive, 87% were on antiretroviral treatment (ART). Of those on ART, 74% were virally suppressed. Younger FSWs were significantly less likely to be on ART or virally suppressed. Female sex workers using HIV services from specialised programs were 1.4 times more likely to be virally suppressed than non-program users. The pre-COVID-19 pandemic HIV CoC amongst FSWs in South Africa shows striking improvement from previous estimates, and approaches achievement of 90:90:90 goals.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , Sex Work , South Africa/epidemiology