Undetectable means Untransmittable: Anti-Stigma Campaign in EECA countries

Informational materials of the campaign

AFEW International supports the large-scale campaign “Неопределяемый значит не передающий” (Undetectable means Untransmittable) aimed at overcoming stigma against people living with HIV. Experts and activists from Eastern European and Central Asian countries also take part in the flash mob.

Research studies confirm the effectiveness of the “treatment as prevention” approach to prevent the sexual pathway of the spread of HIV. In 2014, the PARTNER study conducted in 14 European countries, showed no cases of HIV transmission in 44,000 cases of unprotected sex in discordant couples (1,145 couples totally took part in the study). The study report, published in 2016, showed a complete absence of HIV transmission in more than 58,000 cases of condomless sex.  In July 2017, the Opposites Attract study gave additional evidence in favor of the fact that HIV is not transmitted if the viral load is undetectable. This study was conducted in Australia among 358 serodiscordant gay couples in Australia, Thailand, and Brazil, and showed zero cases of HIV transmission among HIV positive people with undetectable viral load and their sexual partners. Just recently, in September 2017, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the thesis that undetectable viral load prevents sexual transmission of HIV. In November, the Lancet HIV wrote that “CDC officially backing the science behind the campaign is another key step towards U=U being the most important message of 2017 in the fight against HIV.”

Michel Kazatchkine, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

“Н = Н” is the Russian-language part of the global U = U (Undetectable means Untransmittable) campaign, which was launched by American activist Bruce Richman in early 2016. Its core is the Consensus Statement of experts and professional organizations that undetectable viral load prevents sexual transmission of HIV. By November 2016, more than 475 organizations from 65 countries of the world joined the campaign. Currently, more AIDS centers, NGOs, and activist organizations from the EECA countries keep joining the campaign. Signatures have been received from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Estonia. In our region, the campaign is supported by Life4me+.

Today, the science provides more and more evidence that undetectable viral load prevents sexual transmission of HIV, but in Eastern Europe and Central Asia a few people except experts are aware of it. The first Russian-language campaign “Н=Н” (Неопределяемый значит не передающий, Undetectable means Untransmittable), aims to convey this information to as many people as possible. For this purpose, the Consensus Statement and information about the campaign have been translated into Russian.

From October 16 to December 1, 2017, the participants of the campaign tell that today there is an opportunity to curb the spread of HIV through broad access to treatment, early detection and high adherence, and that the stigma of people living with HIV is based on groundless fears and outdated views on the epidemic. The key message of the campaign is that HIV is no longer the “plague of the XXI century.”  It is a chronic infection, with which one can have a good quality of life. With HIV, people can create families and have children, run marathons and make great careers, grow old and retire, just like people without HIV.

It is important to remember that “U=U” does not mean the possibility of not using other means of prevention. Unprotected sex can still lead to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. In addition, due to limited access to treatment or other reasons, people may have obstacles to achieving an undetectable viral load.

Everyone from any Eastern Europe and Central Asia country can join the campaign. Organizations can sign the Consensus Statement, and individuals are invited to participate in an online flash mob by making a photo with the campaign logo and uploading it on social networks with a hashtag “НравноН.”

 

Drug Policy, Diplomacy and Global Public Health Course Offered

Drug Policy, Diplomacy and Global Public Health Course is offered from 24 to 26 October 2017. Course Directors: Professor Michel Kazatchkine and Professor Thomas Zeltner.

Negotiating the health dimension of drug policies

  • Intensive three-day course with renowned faculty and leading practitioners
  • Combine theory and practice through lectures, high-level panels and exercises
  • Meet in the world’s global health capital
  • Organised by the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute, led by Professor Ilona Kickbusch

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem held in April 2016 in New York was a clear demonstration of the growing momentum in favour of drug policy reform. Even though the outcome document raised some promising points, it has been criticised for containing almost no operational outcomes or actions to address the challenges, tensions and contradictions currently existing in international drug control.

Countries are facing challenges due to the horizontal nature of the drug issue that goes far beyond law-enforcement and prohi­bition. Some innovative reforms are already being implemented since the UNGASS 2016. What should the new direction be for the future UN governance of international drug policy? How can different actors contribute to a global process that truly advances laws, policies and international cooperation and finally ensures that drug policies help instead of harming the health and welfare of mankind? How can countries develop a coordinated response, in compliance with international drug control rules, when their ministries of health tend to treat users, while their ministries of interior and justice tend to criminalise them? How can the UN have a meaningful and impactful role in addressing drug policy issues? And what should the role of civil society and user networks be in the international debate on drug policies?

You can find more information about the course here.

Source: Graduate Institute Geneva

Ikram Ibragimov: “AFEW-Tajikistan is the Only NGO with HIV Rapid Testing Services in the Country”

Фото ИкромThe activities of AIDS Foundation East-West Tajikistan for already 15 years are directed into improving the health of key populations at higher risk of HIV infection. Last December HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point was opened in in the representative office of RPO AFEW-Tajikistan in the city of Qurghonteppa. Director of AFEW-Tajikistan Ikram Ibragimov tells about the achievements of the testing point and the organisation in general.

– How was the year of 2016 for AFEW-Tajikistan? What new and important things happened?

– The year was full with events. We changed the statute of the organisation, and we made the areas and directions of its activities wider. We also developed and approved the strategy of the development of the organisation for the medium term, strengthened the partnership and cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the health sector. We have our own new premises for our office. We renovated it, and have been working there for three months already. In November of the last year we elected the management of the organisation – the board, the audit committee and the director – for the years of 2017-2021. Generally speaking, I would say that 2016 was successful for us.

– Just recently you opened HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point in Qurghonteppa. Why did you choose this city to be the “base” for it?

– Our second office is situated in Qurghonteppa. That is why we decided to open HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point on the premises where key groups of population are already provided with the direct services. By the way, now we are the only NGO in the country that has such service. Besides, one of the main routes of Afghan drug traffic goes through Khatlon region and that is why drug addiction level in the region is high. People who use drugs are the main target audience for us. As a rule, donors and partners work in the capital and on the North of the country. We decided to go South.

HTC center 3– What are the first results of HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point?

– Starting from December, 1 and up until December, 31 there were 18 people tested for HIV: 9 men and 9 women. Thanks God, there were no new cases of HIV found. People find out about our testing point from our website, media, business-cards that we disseminate, information from the clients who visit the centre themselves. Mostly, our visitors are representatives of key populations.

– At the end of 2016 you developed a draft of multilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of prevention of socially significant diseases in Khatlon region and the provision of medical, social and legal services for vulnerable groups. What does it mean?

– This agreement means the cooperation with different organisations that provide complex services (medical-psychological, social, legal and others) to key populations on many levels. The agreement is created on the existing epidemical situation with taking into consideration the socially significant diseases in Khatlon region in Tajikistan. It is planned that 46 government and non-government organisations of the region will become the members of the agreement. We strive to create favourable conditions for the clients of our social support services, so that they can get high-quality, timely and free services of certain specialists. The service should be affordable. Therefore, this memorandum is intended to lower the difficulty of access to services for key populations, and to create a basis for the integration of various services “under one roof.” This is so-called principle of “the single window.”

– What are AFEW-Tajikistan’s plans for 2017?

– As I mentioned before, last year we agreed upon the strategy of the organisational development for 2017-2019. Therefore, all our plans are directed into reaching the quality indicators of this strategy.

AFEW Tajikistan is Opening HIV Rapid Testing Point

qurghonteppa_2010_02HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point will be opened on December 1, 2016 in Qurghonteppa, Tajikistan. Testing point will be situated in the representative office of RPO AFEW Tajikistan in Khatlon region.

Official opening ceremony of the HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point is supported by the Administration on public health and social protection of population of the Hukumat of Khatlon region and the Regional AIDS Center. During the opening, 25 representatives of governmental, international and public organizations will learn about experience of the RPO AFEW Tajikistan in introduction of HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing service.

The activity is conducted within the “Bridging the Gaps: Health and rights of key populations -2.0” – program funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point is located at 9 Lokhuti Street, Qurghoonteppa, Representative office of RPO AFEW Tajikistanin Khatlon region.

 

International City Health Conference Open for Registration

Guildhall_conference5th International City Health Conference is open for registration. It will take part in Guildhall, London on September 19, 2016.

City Health 2016 is the fifth edition of the conference. The conference is returning to the venue where City Health International was launched in 2012, the historic Guildhall, at the heart of the City of London, and once again is hosted by the London Drug and Alcohol Policy Forum and organised by Knowledge•Action•Change.

The programme for this conference will examine the increasingly complex relationships between policy makers, academics and researchers, communities and individuals, in a world where change is rapid and information technology has increased access to information, as well as changing the dynamics of communication and influence.

During the event, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Professor Michel Kazatchkine and Susi McLean from HIV/AIDS Alliance will be discussing if public health is facing a crisis. Conference also includes 2016 Alison Chesney and Eddie Killoran Memorial Lecture “Zeroes and Heroes: drug users, popular culture and fight for public health” delivered by Harry Shapiro (DrugWise.)

Delegate places for the conference are £85 per person. More details on how to register can be found on the conference website. More details on the programme can be found here.

2016 International Consultation: Policing, Public Health and Vulnerable Populations is Announced

LEPH2016-DL-FlyerThe 2016 International Consultation: Policing, Public Health and Vulnerable Populations will take place on 1 October 2016 in Amsterdam. It will focus on police work with sex workers, injecting drug users, homeless people, sexual minorities, and trafficked persons. The registration for the event will be opened in August.

The Consultation will be held prior to the 3rd International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health 2-5 October, Amsterdam. Participants of the event will consider and endorse principles to guide the greater participation of vulnerable populations in building safe, secure and healthy communities in partnerships with police.

The purpose of the Consultation is to promote best practices in policing and inter-sectoral partnerships to ensure healthy lives and wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalized populations (SDG3), and promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG16). Police and other law enforcement agencies, community organizations and representatives of vulnerable populations, government agencies, United Nations agencies and other international development organizations are expected to participate in the event.

The 2016 Consultation follows consultations on police and HIV held at the LEPH2012 and LEPH2014 Conferences. There is an increasing need to integrate HIV prevention programs with programs addressing other harms with the same populations. Further, HIV vulnerability is often secondary to other harms – such as gender-based violence, inequalities in wealth distribution, social exclusion, lack of job opportunities and education access, or being an undocumented migrant. A key principle of this integration is the involvement of vulnerable communities in the design and implementation of these programs.

Participation in the Consultation is open to registered participants at the 3rd International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH2016). Places are limited. Registrations will open around August through the Conference website: www.leph2016.com. For further information about the Consultation, write to leahn@leahn.org

Click to read the full details of the event