Over the past year Q-Club has continued its activities and implemented several new projects. We are pleased to present a Report on our work in 2014.
During his visit to London, representative of the Q-Club used the opportunity to visit some of the most interesting HIV related projects in the UK.
The most modern clinic in the World for treating sexually transmitted diseases and testing is 56 Dean Street. The building in its appearance looks more like a night club, but provides all levels of testing, counselling and treatment with no administrative barriers and formalities. The clinic is a recipient of numerous awards and it is a real wonder of technology and organisation. An exceptional example on how cooperation with community in risk can help achieve great results. Our host was David Stuart.
HIV i-base is the organisation Q-Club has been working with for years, and is one of the most significant sources of information on ARV treatment for both patients and activists. We had an opportunity to visit the offices of the organisation and talk to Simon Collins and other people working there. We are very grateful to HIV i-base for selfless sharing of information and products.
We also visited Kings Clinic for treatment of HIV/AIDS in south part of London, where we were accepted by Paul Clift, otherwise working on the clinic as a representatives and peer counsellor for patients. He shared his experiences and we got a lot of information on how such a service works and what does it take to include it in the clinic of this sort.
During the visit ACT UP London, along with other activists, organised a protest in front of the NHS asking for PrEP to be introduced to the UK without delay. We had an opportunity to see this interesting activist display.
It was an extremely interesting week in London, where we learned a lot and got so much information from the best examples. We are particularly grateful to Ben Collins from International HIV Partnerships who organised this study visit.
British HIV Association (BHIVA) organised an annual conference on HIV/Hepatitis coinfections in London from 7th to 8th of December 2014. This annual conferenc brought together people directly involved in taking care of patients infected with HIV and hepatitis B or C, but also people involved in research, epidemiology, representatives of patient groups, and representatives of partner organisations from France, Germany, Spain and UK.
The newest achievements in HIV treatments were the topic of the Conference. A new, more efficient and safer treatment for HCV is now available – the so called direct-acting antiretroviral treatment (DDA). However even the “pan-genotype” DDA have different effects on different sub-types. For now one regiment that would work for all does not exist. HCV has a very high diversity. There are 7 known genotypes of HepC. Genotype 1 can further be divided into A, B, C and G, but they are so different that they can be considered separate genotypes in the future. This is another reason why effects of some medicines vary on these subtypes.
A significant problem is a high price of these medicines, which makes access to treatment much harder in many countries. Researches confirm that similar medications will soon emerge on the market, and that increasing the competition will improve access to treatment.
Nenad Petkovic took part on the Conference.
Ath Checkpoint center is a prevention center for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases in Athens, intended for sexually active population, primarily to men having sex with men (MSM). It was conceived and designed to be a safe place which will provide necessary information and advice on safe sex practices, rapid HIV testing and linking with healthcare services and rights in getting positive results.
The Ath Checkpoint is situated in the very center of Athens, on a very busy location Monastiraki in Pittaki street No. 4, easily accessible and linked with the metro station. The center is open Monday to Saturday from 12 to 20 hours. Visits are scheduled by phone.
We are thank Mr. Nikos Dedes, director of the Checkpoint center, for making this visit happen and for introducing us with the work of the center, the staff and for giving us an introduction how the center works, as well as why it is important for Athens and Greece. We will use these examples of good practice in our country.
International meeting “HIV and quality of life” was organized in Athens, Greece from 4-5 of December 2014, and it gathered experts in infectious diseases, activists and patients working with HIV related issues in their country. The goal of the meeting was to respond to numerous needs of the PLHIV community and their quality of life.
Participants had an opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge, and to talk with experts from the field of HIV infection and co-morbidities from Great Britain and Italy, but also to network and to talk about potential joint activities.
The program of the meeting included three main lectures: Dedication to Treatment and Quality of Llife (by Doctor Franco Maggiolo); Managing side effects (by Doctor Alan Winston), and a very important lecture Co-morbidity and Quality of Life, but infectious diseases specialist Giovanni Guaraldija, in which he presented the study about patients who were living with HIV and developed some of many co-morbidities, but also mechanisms which enable timely detection mechanisms for early stages of co-morbidities, and how to treat them.
On the next day the participant delegation was split into four different groups with work sessions on all three topics mentioned above, and worked out potential solutions for those problems.
We would like to single out the lecture of Brian West, activist living with HIV more than 30 years, and Koen Block named – Keeping HIV on political agenda. The two of them presented the Belgian national HIV plan (for 2014/2015). The plan outlines a precise strategy with clearly defined goals and mechanisms which will influence greater engagement of the government to work more actively with HIV related issues, coinfection and co-morbidities.
On behalf of Q-Club, Denis Memišević participated the meeting.