Training for activists, ARV therapy and advocacy took place in Bucharest, Rumania, on July 8-10 2011. The conference was organized by EATG (European AIDS Treatment Group) with the goal to increase literacy on use of ARV therapy and advocacy. The training was done by EATG trainers, with various methods of presentations and workshops. There were twenty participants from the South-East European region, and on this training we had a great opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas on cooperation on new projects and activities.
We had a member from Q-Club, Nenad Petkovic, taking part in this training.
The kick-off meeting for the NeLP – Network of Low Prevalence Countries, was held in Budapest, Hungary, on June 25-27 2011. This was the meeting of representatives of non-government organizations working with HIV/AIDS from 14 countries of Central and South-East Europe, and the goal of the meeting was starting the network of activists and organizations in the countries of with low HIV prevalence.
A very significant result of the meeting was compiling of the Declaration of minimal standards in therapy, care, prevention and legislation. As most of the partner countries share a similar situation regarding HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and legislation, and life of PLHIV, initiative such as NeLP could help organize international efforts to better the conditions in all of the partner countries.
A website of NeLP will be made immediately following the meeting, and its purpose will be to show the statistical data from every country. It will also promote the Declaration.
The next meeting is planned for October 2011, and will take place in Belgrade.
Representative from the Q-Club was Nenad Petkovic. The meeting was organized and supported by the Hungarian Civil Society Union, EATG and Open Society Institute Program East to East.
Representatives of PLHIV organizations and doctors working with HIV/AIDS took part in the study visit to Warsaw – to the Polis organization SKA. The visit for our representatives was supported by the Global Fund Project of the Ministry of Health.
One of the aims of this visit was introduction of the Polish system and function and organization of DPST centre (centers for voluntary and confidential counseling and testing). All the DPST centers were organized and managed by non-government organizations for both prevention and support to PLHIV.
Poland is a place for patients to get treatment in every part of the country, regardless of where they live, which is a positive example for the rest of Europe, but it also makes life of PLHIV much easier. This is particularly important for discretion and anonymity of the patients.
Poland is also an example of a country that dedicates a larger portion of its budget for medicine procurement, and the funds are more effectively distributed according to needs of patients. There were some issues on procurement of tests and therapies, but they are being ironed-out at the time.
Particularly surprising was lack of discussion about discrimination and violations of rights of PLHIV, and we could almost get the impression that there weren’t any. There were some reported cases of such discrimination, but they provoked no organized response – which would be expected from a member state of the European Union.
Study visits such as this one are extremely useful for learning about existing practices all over the World, which could be adapted and used to better treatment and general position of PLHIV, in Serbia as well.
The 65th Session of the UN General Assembly was held in New York on June 8-10 2011. The main topic for this highest level session was AIDS, and the main goal was to show the progress in the ten year implementation of the “Declaration of Adherence” from 2001 and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, including the best practices, lessons learned, encountered issues and obstacles, and to promote the continued efforts of the leader in the global response to AIDS.
“HIV is a global problem that demands a global response, and no single country is able to fight it alone.” The year 2011 marks 30 years of AIDS. In that time, AIDS has claimed more than 25 million lives and more than 60 million people have become infected with HIV. Still, each day, more than 7,000 people are newly infected with the virus, including 1,000 children. No country has escaped the devastation of this truly global epidemic.
The most significant result of this Session was adopting the new Declaration demonstrating firm intent for continued dedication in global fight against the HIV epidemic.
The delegation to this Session of the UN General Assembly were Dr, Elizabet Paunovic and Katarina Mitic, from the Ministry of Health, Karlo Boras from the Youth of Jazas and Bratislav Prokic from Q-Club, as representative of young activists. The delegation members could learn about different approaches of many UN members to global challenges of HIV, and to meet representatives from other courtiers.
The conference stressed the need for young people and fresh ideas, with a part of the programme devoted to this issue. The report from this Session of the UN General Assembly will be presented as a lecture to activists and PLHIV organizations in September.
The third meeting for South-East Europe, Middle East and North Africa – Destigmatization Trough Normalization was organized in Valletta, Malta, on June 7-11, 2011. The meeting was organized by JUSTRA (HIVTRI) organization with a series of excellent educations for professionals from the region with a focus on availability and application of ARV therapy and care for PLHIV.
The meeting had some innovative and very successful multinational and multidiscipline workgroups for encouraging regional networking, and education on specific issues for the participating countries. The Forum dealt with topics like stigma, pediatrics, medication, developing of conditions for improvement of researches and support services.
Members of the Serbian delegation were Dr. Vesna Turkulov from the Clinic for infectious diseases in Novi Sad, Goran Kljajic, from Novi Sad, Snezana Stevancevic – head nurse on the ward for HIV/AIDS in Belgrade and Nenad Petkovic from Q-Club.
More about the JUSTRI meeting on: http://justri.org/web/