AIDS Foundation East West

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Stimulating an Effective National Response to HIV/AIDS in the Russian Federation


Open Health Institute (OHI), as part of the GLOBUS Project funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Implemented by:

AIDS Foundation East-West (AFEW)


AIDS Infoshare
FOCUS-MEDIA Foundation

Open Health Institute
Population Services International
Russian Federal Penal Service 
Regional NGOs

Project duration:

14 August 2004 —31 December 2011

Additional Information

Russian Federation

Information for professionals:

Information for inmates:

The Russian Federation is home to the largest HIV epidemic in the Eastern European and Central Asian region. As of 31 December 2009, 469 412 individuals were registered as living with HIV in Russia, according to data from the Russian Federal AIDS Centre. However, many experts believe that roughly 1 million HIV-positive individuals is a more realistic and accurate estimate. While in the past the Russian HIV epidemic was largely concentrated among injecting drug users, in recent years, a greater proportion of new cases have been attributed to unprotected heterosexual contact.

In order to stimulate an effective national response to HIV in Russia and to spearhead this response, in 2003 AFEW and its national-level partners initiated the GLOBUS Project in 10 regions of Russia with finance from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This five-year project was aimed at supporting sustainable prevention programmes to reduce the transmission of HIV among vulnerable populations.

AFEW’s project activities in the vast Russian prison system are being implemented with the support of local-level administrative offices, non-governmental organisations and AIDS centres, and will impact approximately 60 prison facilities with close to 130 000 inmates, or 12% of the total Russian prison population.

Thus far, 6 204 Russian prisoners have participated in HIV prevention training seminars conducted by prison personnel. 1 691 prison personnel have been trained specifically on the prevention of HIV. In addition, 353 500 informational materials on HIV treatment and adherence have been developed and disseminated to prison inmates and prison staff as part of project activities.

Extension of Second Phase of the Project in 2010-2011

In 2010-2011, the second phase of the project will be implemented and AFEW will focus its efforts on the component ‘Reducing Transmission of HIV in the Russian Prison System’

Specifically, AFEW carry out the following activities:

Training for prison inmates (HIV prevention, treatment preparedness, and treatment adherence) by a team of regional specialists;

Development and distribution of informational materials to prison inmates covering such topics as HIV prevention, hygiene and general good healthcare. In 10 regions of the country, state penitentiary services will receive condoms, clean needles and vacuum-sealed containers;

Development of training plans and implementation of training programmes about HIV prevention and good health for staff of penitentiary services: medical staff, psychologists, security guards and educators. 

These activities will serve to institutionalise a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy within the Russian prison system through the development of training curricula and centres within the existing educational system of the Federal Penal Service. This will also ensure that future prison personnel receive up-to-date best-practice training as they begin working in facilities across the country.

The Bridge Project (Project ‘MOST’)

Client management is a core approach to working with vulnerable people which enables them to access social and medical services. This approach is the foundation of our approach to prison health. Read more about client management.

Taking into account the specific needs and circumstances of each target group, as well as the current reform process underway in the Russian prison system, we came to the conclusion that a special programme as needed for clients preparing for release.

We took examples of best-practice work with people at increased risk of HIV from Russia and abroad and used this experience as the starting point for the creation of a programme of intensive client management for prisoners transitioning back into society. We gave this programme the Russian title ‘MOST’, which means ‘bridge’.

The Bridge Project is:

  • A programme aimed at the prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases that provides individual medical and social support to clients;
  • A way of assisting people at the transition stage that covers both the period leading up to release and the period following release;
  • A bridge that takes the client from prison life through to successful integration back into society;
  • Support for inmates in adapting to the outer world that puts them into contact with all the services necessary during the transition period;
  • Not a replacement for other ongoing support programmes that are necessary for a client to achieve long-term improvements in their lives.

The main aim of the Bridge Project is to facilitate successful transition and reduce the risk of HIV-infection, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

The emphasis is on ensuring that individuals have personal control over their risk factors at the critical period of release from prison. The project also assists people to resolve a range of practical problems that an inmate faces at the time of release, such as finding housing, getting a job and restoring family relationships.

The programme covers a 6 month period (180 days) – 3 months before release and 3 months after release. It involves individual meetings and group sessions that provide practical assistance and counselling.

Project Bridge runs from June 2010 to December 2011 in the following regions:

  • Nizhny Novgorod Region
  • Tomsk Region
  • Krasnoyarsk Region
  • St. Petersburg Region
  • Republic of Tatarstan

Read about AFEW’s first Project Bridge training




Last update: 10/07/2009