A meeting between the Q-Club and Dr Dragoslav Despotovic, assistant secretary for organising the health services and healthcare and Dr Gordana Belamic took place in the vicinities of the City Healthcare Secretariat on 31 of May 2016. The meeting was organised as a result of Q-Club contacting the Secretariat regarding the necessity of cooperation with the local intuitions and support for programs currently implemented by the association. During the meeting the representative of Q-Club presented activities of the organsiation, and stressed the need for participation of local authorities in implementation of activities within the response to HIV/AIDS. The hosts praised the work of the association, recognised the gaps in the services, and promised that they will consider in which way the City authorities can help the work of the association. It was agreed that the city authorities will take into consideration support to HIV/AIDS programs in the process of planning the following year, and that within this year they will include activities like marking the World AIDS Day, or the European Testing Week. They will also consider the possibility to provide offices for further work of the association.
Q-Club praises the openness of the City authorities for discussion, and has high hopes that this cooperation will yield concrete results in the future.
Representatives of Q-Club took part in the regional training Improved Treatment and Care Access (ITACA), which took place from 12 to 15 May 2016 in Warsaw Poland. The training was organized by the Network of Low Prevalence Countries in Central and South East Europe (NeLP) and the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG).
The key topic of the training were HIV treatment Cascades in Central and South East Europe, and involving the civil society in developing and using this important tool. The treatment cascades were presented in the context of universal access to treatment and care and international 90-90-90 goals set for 2020 by the United Nations. A lot of attention was given to the importance of evidence-based data, particularly since due to the low prevalence of HIV/AIDS a lot of NeLP countries do not have up-to-date data, or systematically analised data or even data based on evidence. Several examples of treatment cascades developed world-wide were presented during the training, and the example from the region was the one from Croatia.
As a part of the training there was a study visit to the HIV Clinic in Warsaw, which is known as one of the exemplary clinics in the Region providing the most comprehensive treatment and care to its patients. During the visit the participants could learn about the system that has been developed on the clinic for treating patients, which was based on the treatment models in the USA.
Following the visit to the HVI clinic, study visit was continued in the Foundation for Social Education, which is one of the leading civil society organizations in Poland. During this visits the participants learned about the current HIV epidemiological situation in Poland, obstacles faced by the people working in response to HIV in Poland, as well as presentation of the Foundation for Social Education.
The training sparked a lot of interest, and it already formed some ideas for national and international activities aiming to develop treatment cascades in the region.
HIV and Your Body: Going Beyond Undetectable – The International Training Day, took place in Vienna (Austria), from 12 to 13. may 2016., was intended to bring together the experienced infectious disease specialist, medical workers and PLHIV activist from numerous european and international organisations.
This meeting training is primarily aimed to encourage/support PLHIV individuals/communities by educating them in the management of their personal health; to improve understanding signs and symptoms of co-morbidities and how they are better managed and prevented; to enhance dialogue between “patients” and “physicians”; and to provide further updated information and guidance on the management of ageing with HIV.
One of the main focuses of presentations of doctors were: long-term preservation and understanding the state of ageing with HIV, among patients after their suppresssion of viral load (reaching the level of undetectability) and prevent some serious complication due to the occurrence of co-morbidities or co-infections.
Several key aspects of the complications that can occur with HIV during aging, is presented through a series of lectures, discussions and workshops.The first aspect was related to cardiovascular disease and risk for the occurrence of co-morbidity. About them spoke Professor Neil Poulter, epidemiologist and cardiologist at Imperial College London; Another aspect was related to the bone and kidney disease as well as the potential risks of obtaining co-morbidity. About this issue spoke nephrologist Angar Rieke, from the Clinic Kemperhof Koblenz (Germany), and Professor Giovanni Guaraldi infectologist from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy).
Also, we emphasize very important presentation of Professor Valerie Poucher-Martinez, from the Institute for Infectious Diseases, Pitiè-Salpêtriére (Paris), about the co-infection with Hepatitis C and lecture of Professor Jean-Philippe Spano, from the Department of Oncology at the Pitiè-Salpêtriére Hospital (Paris), about the risks and occurrences of non-specific anal and other cancers among people living with HIV, who have a good level of CD4 cells and undetectable levels of virus in the blood.
Association Q-Club took part in the commemoration of the World AIDS Day 2016 in Belgrade. This was the 13th such commemoration in Belgrade, and it took place on 15 May under the message “Engage, Educate Empower”. The manifestation in Belgrade took place in the Academic Plateau, where a group of community organizations actively working on response to HIV performed commemorative lighting of candles in the form of a red ribbon, releasing 150 red balloons with support messages into the sky, free, voluntary and confidential HIV consoling and testing, talking to citizens and distributing informational and educational materials.
Participating in the action were USOP, Association Više od pomoći, Association Žena plus, Association AS centar, Association Duga, Association Q-klub, Institute for public health of Serbia „Dr Milan Jovanović Batut“, Belgrade institute for public health and Institute for healthcare of students.
The manifestation in Serbia was a part of an international initiatives implemented every year in the third week of May in most countries around the world. Since 1983 by the network of people who actively participate in the response to HIV in memoriam of people who died of AIDS, to show solidarity with people living with HIV, but also to raise awareness of the society, reduce stigma and discrimination, and give hope to younger generations.
Institute for public health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut” published the Report on implemented activities within the third European HIV and Hepatitis Testing week, from 20-27 November, and the World AIDS Day, on 1 December 2015.
Q-Club participated in implementation of these activities, and was one of the motivators for implementation of activities for the European Testing Week.