In 1990 the HIV prevalence rate amongst female sex workers (FSW) in Côte d’Ivoire/ Ivory Coast was amongst its highest (at 69%), and sexual contact with FSWs was common amongst men in Abidjan. In response to this dramatic situation, geographical mapping of the sites where FSWs lived and where they recruited clients was undertaken in 1991.
Based on this situation analysis, intervention activities were initiated by the Ministry of Health’s Projet de Prévention et de Prise en charge des femmes libres et leurs Partenaires (PPP). As a result, in 1992 the Confidence Clinic was opened in Abidja. Initially it was dedicated to sex workers and their so-called stable partners. The research clinic aimed to describe the epidemic of STIs and HIV amongst sex workers and identify an efficient strategy for prevention and care.
It is then that Espace Confiance was created. The NGO works with LGBTQIs, sex workers, clients, managers, partners and children of sex workers. Espace advocates for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. It also opposes the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work, while supporting its recognition as work.
Espace Confiance’s longstanding work in this area has established it a quality of technical skills in the treatment of HIV and STIs, which have allowed it to become a reference center. The work done by the organisation in recent years has served as a cornerstone in improving the community response in the fight against AIDS in Abidjan.