AFEW Supports International Viral Hepatitis Elimination Meeting

The International Viral Hepatitis Elimination Meeting (IVHEM) will take place in Amsterdam on the 17-18th November 2017. The registration for the meeting is already opened and the program is announced. Since many AFEW International’s strategical activities are aimed at eliminating viral hepatitis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), AFEW is glad to share the information about this event.

IVHEM is a global forum for the exchange of practical experiences for translating diagnostic and therapy advances of viral hepatitis into broad applications that accelerate progress toward elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. Community organisations, researchers, public health practitioners and clinicians will come to Amsterdam for the meeting. The program includes practical examples of innovative intervention studies, country elimination programs and novel funding mechanisms testing and treatment, all focusing on meeting the 2030 targets.

With prevalence as high at 80-90%, Eastern Europe and Central Asia has some of the highest rates of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in the world. AFEW has a broad approach towards groups in society that are at risk for HIV, TB and viral hepatitis and who have limited access to health services in the EECA region. Challenges in the region remain the same for many decades: instance repressive drug policies; stigma and discrimination of injecting drug users, people who live with HIV, sex workers and inmates; poor access to prevention and treatment of HIV, TB and viral hepatitis; inadequate coverage of treatment and affordable medicaments. Besides, international donor funding for harm reduction programs is decreasing.

You can find the flyer about the International Viral Hepatitis Elimination Meeting here. You can register for the meeting here, and find a program here.

AFEW Cooperates in Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction EU project

HA-REACT-logoAFEW became the collaborative partner of the Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) that addresses existing gaps in the prevention of HIV and other co-infections, especially tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, among people who inject drugs. This three-year project was launched in late 2015 with core funding from the European Union, and is being implemented by 23 partners in 18 EU Member States. Twelve collaborating partners are contributing additional expertise, among them the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

“Collaboration with HA-REACT is important for AFEW because we would like to explore how we can use the tools developed by HA-REACT for countries in our EECA region,” – AFEW executive director Anke van Dam says.

HA-REACT focuses particularly on the EU member states where there are obvious gaps in effective and evidence-informed interventions, or where such interventions are not being implemented at a sufficient level. HA-REACT also encourages the implementation of comprehensive harm reduction programmes at sufficient scale in all EU member states as an essential strategy for improving the prevention and treatment of HIV, TB and viral hepatitis.

European Hepatitis Awareness Week is Celebrated for the First Time

1329521660_500x506Today, only 1 in 20 people with viral hepatitis know they have it. And just 1 in 100 with the disease is being treated. This year AFEW is joining the celebration of the First European Hepatitis Awareness Week on 25 – 29 July, the week of World Hepatitis Day, falling on 28 July.

A staggering 95% of people infected with hepatitis B or C around the world do not know they are infected. One reason for this is that people can live without symptoms for many years. When they find out they have hepatitis, it is often too late for treatment to be fully effective. As a result, liver damage becomes cirrhosis or liver cancer.

By 2020 the World Health Organization would like to see five million people receiving treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus infection, three million people having been treated for chronic hepatitis C virus infection and the number of new cases of chronic hepatitis infection reduced by 30% compared with the number of new cases in 2015. The longer term aim is to reduce new viral hepatitis infections by 90% and to reduce the number of deaths due to viral hepatitis by 65% by 2030 from 2016 figures.

The Hepatitis B and C Public Policy Association encourages you to sign the petition and to ask European and national policy-makers to officially adopt the “European Hepatitis Awareness Week” which would become an occasion to hold intensive, coordinated awareness-raising and educational activities across Europe.

Community-based research: the key population small grants fund AIDS2018

FB AIDS 2018 coverAs the HIV epidemic continues to grow in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, new, more relevant, interventions are needed to address this public health concern. Before such interventions can be implemented, the needs of certain communities at higher risk for HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis need to be understood. Involving members of key population communities in research gives an opportunity to identify needs that are currently not being met. Community based research captures the actual situation on the ground more clearly and such research can be used as a powerful advocacy tool. By equipping community based organisations and community members with the tools to conduct research and collect data, research capacity will increase, and research results will reflect an inside perspective on needs and priorities.

Fund for community based research

Towards the end of 2016, AIDS Foundation East-West (AFEW) will release a call for proposals for community-based organizations to conduct research to benefit key populations living in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). The proposals will be assessed by a steering committee. Activities proposed by grantees must contribute knowledge to improving the health of key population groups in EECA. The grantee must be a legally recognized community-based organization registered and operating in EECA. All awarded projects should be completed within 9 months.

Training and Guidance

Training and guidance on how to conduct the community-based research, write abstracts, and present and disseminate findings, will be provided to the grantees. We will be looking for participants with a keen interest, some experience, and familiarity with community based research. A first training, Tools for Change: conducting community based research, is being planned for October/November 2016, followed by a call for proposals, selection, and grant awards.

Monitoring

The awarded research projects will receive guidance and support from the AIDS2018 project team, with some logistical support provided by the AFEW secretariat.  The research report and other relevant materials will be shared via the websites of relevant parties (AFEW, GNP+, EHRN, and others), in other briefings, newsletters, and at meetings and workshops. We anticipate that you submit an abstract to AIDS2018, with the aim of presenting a poster, or an oral presentation.

If you would like to know more about, or be considered for, this unique opportunity to gather knowledge and raise the voice of key populations in research, and at AIDS2018, send us an email at research@AFEW.nl. We will send you the application form on request. Please feel free to get in touch with us with questions or remarks. AFEW is looking forward to implementing this project, with and for you!