Workshop for Transgender People and HIV Testing

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The first workshop for transgender people was organized by Q-Club and AS Center on November 23. Participants of the workshop talked about problems of transgender population, and about some of the challenges this population faces, with a particular accent to stigma and healthcare problems, but also dangers regarding HIV. The participants also openly talked about HIV, shared personal experiences and had an opportunity to learn something new.
The workshop was followed by night-time HIV counseling and testing in Q-Club, where most of the participants got tested, thus sending a message to their friends that HIV testing is an important segment of keeping one’s own health in check. The testing was done in cooperation with Rainbow association, and is one of the activities within the European HIV testing week.

Press Conference for European Action „Talk HIV. Test HIV“

Press Conference „Talk HIV. Test HIV“ took place on November 21st 2013. in the Info-Room of the Youth office of Belgrade. The Conference was organized by AS Center and the Youth office.
Ms. Tamara Blagojevic, Director of the Youth office of Belgrade, opened the Conference by expressing her pride to be a part of such an important paneuropan action. Following Ms. Blagojević was Ms. Stanislava Vidovic, Senior Project Manager and National Coordinator for SoSYEP, GIZ, where GIZ is one of the donors supporting the HIV testing week cooperation in Serbia.
European HIV testing week was then presented to the journalists and guests, as well as activities which will be implemented during the testing week, as well as cooperations formed around these activities. Activities were presented by representatives from the Youth of Jazas, Safe Puls of Youth, AS Center, while the activities of the Q-Club were presented by Mr. Rade Kuzmanovic. He also talked about the problem of the low prevalence setting in Serbia, and about the development of the European HIV testing week idea.

A meeting with the Minister of health


After the meeting with the representatives of the Republic Healthcare Fund, delegation of PLHIV organizations held a meeting with the Minister of health, prof. dr Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic. Dr Dragan Delic, Chief of medicine on the Clinic for Infectious diseases in Belgrade, and Katarina Mitic, Project Director of Global Fund at the Ministry of Health of Serbia also participated the meeting. 

The key topic of the meeting was including 4 new medicines on the positive A list for people living with HIV. The Minster expressed her supprot and promissed that she is doing everything in her power, although the final word is in the Republic Healthcare Fund. None the less she was convinced that by January the medicines will be included on the list!
A member of the PLHIV delegation was Bratisla Prokic from the Q-Club, who reffered to the minister's promise of 2013 being the year of justice for people living with HIV. He stressed that all the factors and the expert oppinions are already known as well as the farmaceutical and economic factors. He also stressed that it was necessary to get all the registered HIV medications on the positive A list so that doctors could use them when needed, and that in this way a lot of energy is wasted on band-aid solutions.

Public announcement


 As part of our continuous advocacy efforts for quality healthcare for people living with HIV we started a new phase of advocacy. Unfortunately, we have to deal with old problems which have not yet been solved in the previous couple of years. On occasion of the World AIDS Day we sent open letters to the relevant institutions for solving these ongoing problems.

The most important issue is putting necessary medicines for treating HIV to the positive A list – these medicines are necessary for patients, particularly for those who, due to mutation of HIV, have no more treatment options – they make out about 10% of the patients, and their very lives are threatened. Experts have expressed their opinions, and have sent it to the Healthcare Fund on several occasions over the previous three years. Like numerous pleas of patients, those opinions fell on deaf ears of the Healthcare Fund, and since 2004 no new medicines have been put on the positive A list. In time the quality of treatment in Serbia did not improve, but rather, treatment standards in Serbia are lowest in the region.
We wish to stress that HIV is not a deadly disease, but rather a chronic one, and with adequate treatment does not affect life expectancy. It is necessary for the relevant institutions to provide the adequate treatment so that patients can lead normal lives.

A meeting with representatives of the Healthcare Fund


 A meeting of representatives of organizations of People Living with HIV and the Healthcare Fund of Serbia took place yesterday. The meeting is a result of numerous requests and letters. Perspective of the patients as well as some other relevant facts were presented on this meeting.

Representatives of the Healthcare Fund reported on the current situation on the request to include 4 new medicines, recommended by the Board of Experts, to the positive A list. It was also requested from pharmaceutical companies to renew their requests for including the medicines to the list so that the „90 to 120 day request deadline“ cold be met. Representatives of PLHIV organizations saw this move as another in a long line of Healthcare Fund's deadlines which would not be met.
The patients stressed that no new medicines became available to patients since 2004, in spite of declining treatment costs in the World. Also, the medicines already on the waiting list are neither new nor modern. Ignoring our pleas as well as expert's opinions lead to having 10% of patients whose lives are threatened. 
Representatives of the Healthcare Fund agreed with arguments presented by patients and added that the treatment standard is the worst in the region. They expressed a firm position that the medicines will be included on the positive A list as soon as possible, because there is no alternative.
Representing the Q-Club on this meeting was Bratislav Prokic.

Five year report