Commissioner for Equality gave a Set of recommended measurements for achieving equality, intended for the Ministry of Health of Republic of Serbia. These recommended measures encompasses all healthcare institutions under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and are about the procedure of inscribing patients’ HIV status on healthcare documents in these institutions.
This set of recommended measures is a result of researches and documented cases of discriminations where the HIV status of the patient was additionally, but irregularly, stressed and overmarked on healthcare documents. This contributes to stigmatisation of PLHIV, who are already ostracised and marginalised by the society.
You can read the set of recommendations in Serbian here
Meeting of representatives of the civil society organisations interested in the negotiation process of accession to the European Union within the section 28 and the government accession negotiation team took place in the Serbia Palace on March 2nd 2015 and was organised by the Office for cooperation with the civil society. Chapter28 pertains to consumer and health protection.
The meeting was opened by Ivana Ćirković – head of the Office for cooperation with the civil society, Vesna Kovač – state secretary in the Ministry of commerce, toursim and telecommunications and coordinatior of negotiations peratining to chapter 28, and Predrag Sazdanović – Assistant of the Minister of Health. Most attention of the participants was attracted by the speach by Mr. Sazdanović, and most of the questions were driected at him, but the Assistant Minister did not have to answer all of them completely.
In the second half of the meeting, Mr. Dalobor Matić from the Ministy of external affairs of Croatia presented experiences fro his country in the negotiation process and the challenges they faced within this chapter, primarily in the domain of consumer protection. The negotiation process is very significant and presents a good opportunity to improve the healthcare system with the support and constructive participation from the civil society. However, with all praises to the Office to organize this meeting, there is a feeling that representative of the government should be more open to suggestions and problems of the civil society in order to achieve good progress and expected social reforms.
Representing Q-Club on this meeting was Nenad Petković.
The new director of the Republic Healthcare fund has invited members of the Patient Organisations in Serbia to a meeting which took place in the offices of the Healthcare Fund on February 26 2015. The goal of this meeting was mutual introduction as well as initial presentation of problems that patient organizations have. There were more than 30 representatives of various organizations, and representing the Healthcare Fund, along with the director were Sanja Mirosavljević and Aleksandra Gazivoda – both of them working on cooperation with patients.
In her introduction speech, the director, Ms Lazić stressed that her commitment was to improve relations and cooperation with patient organizations, which was well received by patient groups representatives. The general conclusion was that this direct cooperation between the Fund and patient groups was a good initiative. However, for further improvements thematic meetings would be needed – such meetings would gather representatives of patient organizations with similar problems, and they would be an opportunity to consider specific problems. The Republic Healthcare Fund took upon itself to schedule these meetings in the forthcoming period.
Representing Q-Club on this meeting was Nenad Petković.
Open letter from HIV & LGBT European community organisations and other concerned Europeans to pharmaceutical industries, European and national institutions.
In recent years, there has been considerable debate about the role that antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) could play in combined HIV prevention strategies. One way of using them is as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); this involves the use of specific ARVs to reduce the risk of infection in HIV-negative people who are exposed to HIV. In 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its approval of daily oral tenofovir and emtricitabine (Truvada(R)) for PrEP. In Europe, this combination is not available for prevention except to people enrolled in scientific studies.
Recently, two major European scientific studies, the English PROUD trial and the French IPERGAY trial, reported the highest effectiveness rates yet seen in studies of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.
These results are ground-breaking. A European licence for a measure that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2012, and which is already being used by at least 12,500 people in the US, is overdue.
Some of the questions raised by a possible licensed use of ARVs for PrEP in Europe are complex. How will people be assessed for PrEP? Where and how will it be delivered? Who will pay for it? How do we align it with the specific situations of different affected communities? None of these issues are unmanageable and, given the additional opportunity for HIV prevention and sexual health that PrEP is opening up, questions around its implementation and impact deserve an open discussion between communities affected by the HIV epidemic, health professionals, policy-makers and the companies producing the ARVs used for PrEP. Meanwhile, steps must be taken to make PrEP available.
This call from HIV and LGTB community organisations in Europe to both public health authorities and pharmaceutical companies is released as part of efforts to improve HIV prevention, sexual health and health seeking behaviour among gay men and other men having sex with men who are at risk of HIV infection.
As European community-based organisations we publicly raise the following points:
We call on all stakeholders to make PrEP available and accessible in Europe:
The successful implementation of combination HIV prevention needs evidence and evidence-based strategies and scientific and civil society organisations need to work together to provide them. Key populations need up-to-date information on new choices in order to take the best decisions to improve the quality of their health, happiness and social efficacy.
Q-Club is one of the signatories of this initaitve. You can see the manifesto here.
HIV drugs are used in combinations, so it is right that the companies who make and sell these drugs collaborate on this study on long-term safety.
We urge the following companies to continue funding this vital study: AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Janssen, Merck Sharpe Dohme and ViiV Healthcare.
The funding must also make it possible to add new patients to the D:A:D database for another five years, since many will be starting treatment with newer HIV drugs.
For over 15 years the D:A:D study has been a remarkable collaboration.
Since 1999, it has included:
What has the D:A:D study shown so far?
D:A:D was originally set up to look at HIV drugs and the risk for liver and heart disease.
Since then, D:A:D has answered many other long-term safety issues.
D:A:D combines results from over 50,000 HIV-positive people from 11 research networks in Australia, Europe and the US.
Although the companies no longer have to fund this study, we think D:A:D is too important to let close.
Results from D:A:D have been used to change HIV treatment guidelines and the way people are treated by their health care providers.
D:A:D has developed practical tools for estimating risk of heart and kidney disease in HIV-positive people.
D:A:D has also reported new side effects that were not found when the drugs were first studied, including:
D:A:D has also showed that other drugs did not have these side effects.
D:A:D has also shown whether guidelines are being followed.
What is needed now?
We need this essential study to continue.
We need new patients to be included to answer the same questions for the newest drugs and combinations.
Why do we need D:A:D to continue?
D:A:D is critical for many reasons:
If D:A:D is allowed to end, it will be lost forever.
If there is a new safety issue, we will not be able to rebuild D:A:D—16 years of results will be lost.
For these reasons, we urge the above companies to support the D:A:D study for another five years.
Continuing to fund D:A:D makes a powerful statement about your company’s commitment to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Your support sends a clear message about supporting our communities and health care providers.
This research is invaluable to millions of people living with HIV/AIDS. It has a direct effect on our lives.
We hope to hear that you are willing to continue supporting D:A:D.
Q-Club is one of the signatories of this initaitve. You can see the complete list here.