A three day regional training – Promoting Universal Access – HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care, Support and Prevention in Central and Southern Europe took place in the capitol of Romania, Bucharest on 15-18 May 2014. The training was organized by the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), and it gathered HIV professionals, HIV activists, people living with HIV, and civil society representatives from countries in the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey).
The main topic of the training was HIV treatment literacy – knowing the ARV treatment as one of the tools for achieving better access to treatment. During these three days, guided by experienced trainers and HIV activists, the participants of the training had an opportunity to learn about drugs’ names, classifications and side-effects, new antiretrovirals, how to provide support for people who are starting with ARV treatment, help with treatment adherence, advocacy mechanisms and PEP, PrEP and TasP as prevention tools.
Along with the rigorous training program, the training participants had an opportunity to present the situation in their respective countries, exchange experiences and network.
Representing Serbia and Q-Club were Aleksandar Ivanovic and Rade Kuzmanovic.
Q-Club is implementing a program of voluntarz and confidential counseling and testing for HIV in cooperation with Rainbow Association from Šabac, and as part of the project Reduction of HIV transmission and support for GMT (gay men, men having sex with men and trans*) populations, with the support of the amfAR foundation. So far we have organised night-time testing in front of Gay clubs, outreach actions and field testing as well as scheduled testing with our members and in premisses of the Center for support of GMT people. So far we have tested 124 people, and our testing sessions are often followed with relevant workshops on how to preserve one's own negative HIV status.
We will continue our testing program over May and June. For all information regarding testing you can contact the Center for support of GMT people by phone 063 510 754.
Q-Club started the Initiative for including post exposure prophylaxis in Republic of Serbia on April 14th 2014.
Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a prevention measure that is lacking in Serbia, and it includes use of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV (but also HBV and HCV) infection with a person after he or she has already been exposed to virus, either within an unforeseen event (pricked with a potentially infected needle, cut or injury in contact with infected material, condom breaking whilst in sexual contact with an HIV positive person, etc.)
PEP is a prevention measure recommended by the World Health Organization, and it should be a part of all national programs on maintaining public health. PEP cannot replace primary prevention (use of condom, distribution of information, etc.), but availability of PEP could support basic preventive behavior.
Even to experts completely agree on effectiveness of PEP and basic conditions for its application, the healthcare system of Republic of Serbia does not regulate use of post exposure prophylaxis for prevention of HIV, HBV and HCV infections. It has been demonstrated so far that this form of prevention is needed, but occurrences so far were resolved informally and sporadically.
Q-club hence proposes change of the Rulebook on immunization and ways of protection using drugs, as well as change of regulations of the Republic Healthcare Fund that control dispensing of drugs in such a way that doctors can prescribe PEP (treatment) at the expense of the Healthcare Fund when adequate conditions are met. Q-Club also proposes an additional measure of adopting an adequate guideline for application of PEP as a guide for doctors in deciding when to offer and prescribe PEP.
Within this initiative Q-Club contacted the relevant stakeholders – primarily decision makers: Ministry of Health of Republic of Serbia, Republic Healthcare Fund and National Commission for HIV and tuberculosis, as PEP is within their jurisdiction.
Q-Club has also contacted partner organizations of people living with HIV, civil society organizations and relevant institutions to join us in this initiative and support it.
For more information about the initiative and for supporting this initiative please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can download the full text of the initiative in Serbian here.
Q-Club is proud to present the newest issue of HIV Bulletin HTB for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, the first in 2014. In this issue we present the most important data on new drugs that are results of research efforts, as well as the three new antiretroviral components approved for use in the European Union. The focus of this issue is reports from the 14th EACS conference as well as their HIV treatment guidelines. We also bring you good news from Serbia, where we have new drugs financed by the healthcare insurance. On the other hand we face the challenge of Global Fund retreating from the countries of the region. This will demand a lot of dedication in order to continue many of the significant programs within response to HIV which were supported by the Global Fund. We hope you will enjoy the review of the movie Dallas Buyers Club and other articles. You can read them on the web-site www.hiv-bilten.info
Two day JUSTRI meeting took place in Athens, Greece, and it gathered the people working in organizations for improving quality of life of people living with HIV and viral hepatitis from the region of South East Europe (Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia and Turkey), the Middle East and North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia). The goal of the meeting was developing a plan for the next three years of JUSTRI program in order to increase the level of activities. Diligent work of all participants yielded several possible groups of activities that could help patients with improving conditions of diagnostics and treatments. The participants could learn more about the situations in individual countries of these regions and to exchange experiences of good practices. Along with participants working in the field of HIV there were doctors working on treating viral hepatitis, and doctors treating tuberculoses.
Representatives from Serbia were Dr Gordana Dragovic, Ivana Bogdanovic, as well as Nada Micic and Nenad Petkovic from Q-Club.