Strategy Meeting of the Network of Low HIV Prevalence Countries in Central and South East Europe - NeLP III - To develop a strategic action plan for effective HIV advocacy in Central and South East Europe took place in Belgrade from 11 to 14 October. The meeting was organised by Q-club – Centre for promotion of positive living and HERA – Association for health education and research, with the support of TACSO – Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organization and EATG – European ADIS Treatment Group.
On the opening ceremony the participants of the meeting were welcomed by Mr. Nenad Petković, on behalf of the Q-Club, Mr. Ninoslav Mladenović, on behalf of HERA, Mr. Darko Runić, on Behalf of the City of Belgrade and the Agency for European Integrations and Cooperation with the Civilian Sector, Mr. Sergej Vujačić, on behalf of TASCO, Mr. Ferenz Bagynszki, on behalf of EATG, and Mr. Andrej Senih, on behalf of the Steering Committee of NeLP.
The meeting brought together HIV activists, representatives of seventeen member countries of NeLP. During these three days the participants have developed a draft action plan for activities which NeLP, being a regional network, could implement to help improve HIV response, and support various activities in the member countries. The final plan should be finished by the end of November of this year and will be for the next five years.
The activities comprised in this draft were designed with special consideration the specific situations in countries with low prevalence of HIV. One of the key segments of successful and effective advocacy was influence of international organizations and networks, where NeLP will play a significant role.
The first issue of the regional HIV/AIDS magazine, HIV Bulletin HTB was published. The HIV Bulletin HTB is a free periodical reporting on the new and the most important medical research and developments in the field of HIV and similar conditions, as well as treatment access. The Bulletin covers Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. It is intended primarily for medical experts, but also for other professionals and people living with HIV, and also other people interested in the field of HIV. The main goal of publishing this bulletin is providing reliable information as a platform for access to better healthcare of people living with HIV in all the countries of the region.
HIV Bulleting HTB was a result of an initiative of Q-Club and International HIV Partnerships. Most of the Bulletin content was translated from the UK based magazine HIV Treatment Bulletin, with support of i-Base – the publisher of that magazine. The editorial board of the HIV Bulletin HTB is comprised of doctors, activists and people living with HIV from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The HIV Bulleting HTB was published as hardcopy, available in most healthcare institutions in the region, but can be subscribed to as well; as electronic PDF edition, that can be received via e-mail, or downloaded here link PDF eddotion; and as on-line eddition on the website: www.hiv-bilten.info.
Contact for subscription and comments is firstname.lastname@example.org. And feel free to contact us!
Publishing of the HIV Bulletin HTB for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia was financially supported by Gilead Sciences Europe and Merck Sharp & Dohme.
International seminar “Healthcare, legal and human rights” was organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia in Belgrade on September 28 2012 with the patronage of the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.
The seminary was opened by the minister of health of Republic of Serbia, Prof. Dr. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic. As the priorities of the healthcare policy of the new cabinet of the Ministry of Health, she has declared: solidarity, focus on risk groups and chronic disease, particularly people living with HIV/AIDS. One of the problems of the healthcare system so far, minister Djukic Dejanovic presented the work of the public health institute – Batut, where the healthcare policies should be created, staffing needs met, required techniques applied, but that hasn’t been happening for years.
Along with the Minister of Health, and the Vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, the participants were welcomed by Dr. Dragan Delic, the President of the Health Council of Serbia, and the Director of the Clinic for Infectious and Tropic Diseases of the Clinic Center of Serbia. Several patient organizations took part in the seminary. Representatives of the Q-Club were Nada Micic and Bratislav Prokic.
The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Perisa Simonovic, presented the draft of the new Patient Rights bill, which will soon be available on the website of the ministry. He called for a debate regarding further development of the bill.
Particularly interesting was the lecture of the Chairmen of the Ethics Committee of the Doctors’ Society of Serbia, Dr. Paja Momcilov. He spoke about rights of the patients, but also about rights of doctors. “The Doctor-Patient relationship must be based on trust, and without that any discussions on laws and rights are in vain.” Dr. Paja Momcilov presented the problem of unsuccessful reforms and lack of integration in our healthcare system – since it is divided into three separate and closed systems: military, public and private. His example of bad treatment were figures on mortality rates in cancer patients – the global trend is that 1/3 of cancer patients die, while the trend in Serbia is that only 1/3 of patients survives their treatment.
A three day regional training for organizers of „Living libraries“ took place in Šabac. The training was supported by the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, and the Office of the Commisioner for protection of Equaltiy of Serbia, and organized by Duga Association, which has been working on improving quality of life of LGBT people mostly in West and Central Serbia.
The „Living library“ gathers people who are often victims of discrimination, prejudices and stereotypes. They become „living books“ that the „readers“ can „lend“ and go into a real dialogue. The books can present their own experiences, answer questions, but also ask quesitons ald learn.
The idea of „Living libraries“ was originally developed by the Danish yout initiative „Stop the Violence“ (Forefinger Stop Volden) in 2000. The European Youth Center in Budapest recognised the potential of this method of prevention of violence with young people. In 2002, the methodology of „Living libraries“ became an integral part of the youth program of the Council of Europe in the Human Rights learning programs.
This training for „Living libraries“ in Šabac was attended by representatives of several organizations and public institutions from Serbia. Representative of the Q-Club was Bratislav Prokic. After the training, the participants took part in a simulation of a “Living library”, where a few dozen “readers” expressed extreme satisfaction with the “living books” they read.
We hope that participants of this training will be successful organizers of “Living libraries” in their cities, and that they will use these valuable experiences for improving human rights in Serbia.
Seminary on criminalization of non-detection of HIV status, potential risks and non-intentional HIV transmission took place in Berlin on September 20 2012. The Seminary was organized by Deutche AIDS Hilfe, EATG, IPPF and HIV. More than 150 legal experts and activists from all over Europe came together to have a comprehensive overview of the problems regarding criminalization of HIV infection and to contribute to developing policies and guidelines. Several panelists had presentations on the meeting: Edwin Bernard (HIV justice), Cristoph Hamelman (UNDP), Susan Timberlake (UNAIDS), Ninoslav Mladenović (EATG), and one of the most interesting was a presentation by Luis Gay, Norwegian activist and blogger, who was himself legally charged for transmitting HIV infection – he shared his touching story with other participants.
The main conclusion of the seminar was that the only intentional HIV transmission could be justly criminalized, while all the other cases legal actions have no justification. Intentions of the policy makers for protecting the public health by imposing such radical legal measures are not supported by evidence.
Thus they become senseless and they should be altered, because this way they contribute to spreading the infection and late detection.
The seminar took place in Rotes Rathause, the City Hall of Berlin, a historic building that hosted the Berlin Congress of 1878, and the participants were welcomed by the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit. Representative of the Q-Club was Nenad Petkovic.