The thirteenth European AIDS conference, organized by EACS – European AIDS Clinical Society, was held in Belgrade on October 12–15, 2011. During the conference members and volunteers of Q-Club were involved in various activities in the official part of the programme.
Nenad Petkovic, executive director of Q-Club spoke in the opening session about HIV and human rights.
Apart from the official part of the programme a few dozen organizations and pharmaceutical companies had their booths in the hall of the Sava Center, where we at Q-Club had a booth together with Jazas and SPY. Visitors of our booth got both preventive and educational materials, and our five-year report attracted a lot of attention.
Representatives of many companies and organizations showed great interests for future cooperation, while most of the doctors from the region were interested into AIDS resurs as a place where a lot of important information for patients could be found.
HIV/AIDS activists from all over Central and South-Eastern Europe came to a study visit to Q-Club. At this time Belgrade is hosting two renowned International HIV/AIDS conferences – NELP (Network of Low HIV Prevalence Countries) conference, and the 13th European Aids Conference, and we from the Q-Club are taking part in both of them.
The visit was a chance to present the work and achieved results of our organization in the last five years. It was also an excellent opportunity to form new and strengthen the existing ties with networked organizations.
A cocktail followed the official part of the visit.
Meeting Next steps for NeLP - Network of Low Prevalence Countries of Central and South-East Europe took place in Belgrade on October 11, 2011. The meeting was organized by EATG and Q-Club, and it was held in Hotel Continental. It gathered more than 40 participants from partner countries of NeLP, as well as guests from the Ministry of Health of Serbia, the National office for HIV/AIDS, UNDP, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, and other HIV activists.
The topics of the meeting were current problems that partner countries face regarding stock-outs of medicines and diagnostics for HIV treatment. EATG presented and offered the Emergency guidance on ART forced treatment interruptions due to drug unavailability (forced stock-outs) for people living with HIV and their care providers in Europe and Central Asia. The Guidance gave practical advice for patients on what to do in these situations.
The Budapest Declaration, which was made on the first NeLP meeting, and the NeLP website that was made after the meeting (www.nelp-hiv.org) were presented to everyone. Also, some future steps for the network were defined.
This May, we from the Q-Club celebrated five years of our work. In the previous years we have provided support for people living with HIV, and helped them improve their quality of life in Serbia. Activities and results we are particularly proud of are in our brochure “Living with HIV, health, voice and services”, which also contains our five-year activity report.
The report is guided with our general idea “no one can help us as much as we can do for ourselves” intended to include people living with HIV into solving problems of prevention, treatment, raising awareness about HIV, fighting stigma and discrimination.
In the last five years we have developed very significant activities, that make us very proud, and they are: psycho-social support, advocacy for treatment, education on ARV therapy, ICT programme. We have made the Q-Club one of the eminent organizations working with HIV/AIDS issues in the region, and are part of several international associations and networks, like HIV Europe, NELP and ENP+.
This report was also a chance for us to present some future plans, particularly on standardization of services, and accreditation of our training programmes, sustainability, and capacity building. We will put particular effort into increasing quality of treatment for people living with HIV, especially for medicine and diagnostics availability, and in fight against stigma and discrimination of PLHIV.
Associations Safe Pulse of Youth and Q-Club from Belgrade gave a modest donations of hygienic packages to help users of the VI ward of the Clinic for Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Belgrade. In this way, our organizations wanted to give direct and concrete help and show solidarity to everyone admitted to the VI ward of the Clinic.
Our associations will help users of the VI ward in similar way in the future as well. And for that we call on everyone, fellow citizens, organizations and companies to join the collection of donations for people living with HIV/AIDS in Serbia.
All the donations will be going directly to the VI ward of the Clinic for Infectious and Tropical Diseases. You can get all the information by contacting the Clinic on 011/3345852 or 011/2685-299.
Funds for this donation were raised on gay parties in Belgrade, on the Civil Society Organization Show, from the members of our two associations and from private donors. Our associations thank everyone who took part in gathering of this donation, and we call on you solidarity to continue with other human gestures in the future. We believe they are very important to the people who benefit from such support and for our society in general.
(SPY i Q-club, Beograd, 20.09.2011.)