AIDS Foundation East West

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Improving Access to HIV Prevention and Care Programmes for Injecting Drug Users and in Prison Settings in the Russian Federation


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Implemented by:

AIDS Foundation East-West (AFEW)


Federal Penitentiary Service
Federal State Agency ‘The National Research Centre on Drug Addiction’ 
Regional Centres for HIV and Infectious Disease Prevention & Treatment (Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, Kazan, Perm, Voronezh)
Irkutsk Branch of the Russian Red Cross
Angar Branch of the Russian Red Cross
Independent non-commercial organisation ‘Anti-AIDS’ (Voronezh) 


Independent non-commercial organisation ‘Nazarene’ (Voronezh)
NGO ‘Regeneration’ (Kazan)
‘Mercy’ Rehabilitation Centre (Kazan)
‘Crossroads’ Rehabilitation Centre (Naberezhnye Chelny) 
Timur Islamov Foundation (Naberezhnye Chelny)
‘Source of Hope Foundation (Perm) 
NGO ‘Light of Life’ (Perm)
NGO ‘Anti-drugs Programmes’ 
‘Compass’ Prevention Centre (Chelyabinsk) 
Budget Foundation ‘Civil Initiative’ (Magnitogorsk)
Rehabilitation Centre ‘There is Hope’ (Zlatoust)


Irkutsk Oblast, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Perm Kray, Voronezh Oblast, Republic of Tatarstan

Project duration:

15 May 2007 — 30 November 2010 (due to savings project extended until 31 November 2011 but under a new name*)

Additional Information

Russian Federation 

Participating social bureaus (pdf, 58 KB, 2009)

Informational materials:



The Russian Federation is home to the largest HIV epidemic in the Eastern European and Central Asian region. As of November 2011, 662,744 individuals were registered as living with HIV, according to data from the Russian Federal AIDS Centre. However, UNAIDS estimates that roughly 1 million individuals is a more realistic and accurate estimate (2009). While in the past the Russian epidemic was largely concentrated among injecting drug users, in recent years, a greater proportion of new cases have been attributed to unprotected sexual contact.

In order to sustain long-term and effective responses to the HIV epidemic in Russia, AFEW launched the project 'Improving Access to HIV Prevention and Care Programmes for Injecting Drug Users and in Prison Settings in the Russian Federation'. This project is designed to address two of the most vulnerable groups in the country: injecting drug users and prison inmates.

The activities outlined below are intended to strengthen the national HIV strategy and to amend its action plans. Furthermore, they are intended to improve both institutional and professional capacity, as well as to establish accreditation for those working on issues related to HIV prevention, care and support among injecting drug users and in the prison system. 

Specifically, AFEW will carry out the following activities during the project cycle:

  • A baseline study of attitudes, knowledge and behaviour among prisoners. 
  • The development of social bureaus for injecting drug users and prisoners in 5 project regions. Financial, methodological and informational support and development of projects that offer client management services.
  • The development of client management services during the re-integration period: reducing the risk of HIV/hepatitis/STIs among people recently released from prison (‘Start-Up’ Programmes).
  • Methodological and technical support to launch peer programmes in prisons. These programmes encourage inmates who are trained in HIV prevention and treatment to provide information to other inmates via counselling and/or training sessions in women’s prison facilities in the project regions. 
  • Training medical and non-medical staff in prison settings on HIV prevention, professional health & safety, treatment adherence and client management for inmates living with HIV.
  • Training staff of social bureaus and other local organisations that provide services to injecting drug users and prison inmates in 5 project regions on issues such as HIV, tuberculosis and HIV/tuberculosis co-infections.
  • Development of specialised services for women living with HIV in 4 project regions. The aim of this part of the project is to support vulnerable women living with HIV through self-help groups, training on reproductive health and other issues.
  • Development and standardisation of informational materials and training manuals aimed at partners and on-site training centres. Likewise, informational materials for specific groups such as prisoners and injecting drug users on health promotion and HIV prevention are developed and disseminated. 

As a result of these activities, injecting drug users and prisoners will have increased access to vital services, while government agencies, non-governmental organisations and the general population will have access to updated information related to HIV prevention and treatment. As of October 2009, the project has attained the following results:

• 12 social bureaus were launched and now operate on the sites of non-governmental and governmental organisations in 5 project regions;
• 1,522 people from target groups have become clients of social bureaus under regional client management programmes;
• 624 specialists (including social workers, medical staff, outreach workers and prison staff) have been trained in HIV prevention and related issues); 
• A total of 1,349 inmates from 9 male penal colonies and 849 inmates from 4 female penal colonies took part in surveys on their attitudes, knowledge and behaviour in relation to HIV/AIDS.

*Due to financial savings of $66,000, the project continued under the new name: "Providing methodological support to organisations implementing low-threshold programmes on HIV prevention and reduction of medical and social consequences of drug use among IDUs in Irkutsk, Voronezh, Chelyabinsk regions, Republic of Tatarstan and Perm Kray". 



  • Increase the quality of comprehensive HIV prevention and care services among IDUs and in prisons.
  • Expand access to education for specialists of client management programmes and promote client management strategies.

This project started June 2011 and lasted until 31 November 2011. 

Last update: 10/07/2009