The first meeting of the theme-group for development of the national anti-discrimination strategy on the basis of health status took place in the Directorate of human and minority rights, local government and self-government. Four organisations, Q-Club, Secons, Center for education of youth and Center AS, responded to the invitation by the Directorate of human and minority rights to take part in the theme-group.
The bases for the development of the strategies were set on this meeting. Consultant for this group, Professor Dejan Milenkovic will mold the bases into a document which will be further commented by the members of the theme-group. The methods, rules and dynamics of further cooperation on the strategy development were also set, so it is expected for the text of the strategy to be finished by the end of the year. The general public will be included in the process of forming the strategy by public debates which will be organised by the Directorate.
Q-Club will contribute to the development of the Strategy and subsequently to adequate treatment and protection of rights of people living with HIV.
Annual assembly of the European network of people living with HIV – HIV Europe, took place in Berlin, on June 1-3 2012 in Berlin. 29 representatives of PLHIV organization all over Europe took part in the assembly, and Nada Mićić and Nenad Petković represented the Q-Club. Presentation of the PARTNER study (www.partnerstudy.eu), which is done with sero-discordant couples in Europe with the goal to prove reduction of HIV transmission with use of ARV treatment was part of the working section of the assembly.
After presenting reports from their respective countries, participants worked on the strategic plan of HIV Europe, and planning the next year's events. Priority topics for the group activities, and work groups to coordinate those activities have been determined.
Last year's reports followed, along with election for the chair persons and members of the steering committee of the network. Responsibilities of the president will be performed by Henrik Arildsen from Danmark, and Nenad Petković, representative of the Q-Club, from Serbia, was elected Vice Chair of the HIV-Europe network, and member of the steering committee.
You can see more information on the website of HIV Europe www.hiveurope.org
The Partnership for HIV, along with their partners, organized The Sixth Regional Conference on HIV And AIDS under title „Treatment of co-infections and innovative approach to HIV prevention“. The Conference took place in Sarajevo on May 17 and 18, 2012. This conference gathered doctors, experts, activists and people living with HIV for an exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences.
Low prevalence is connecting the countries in the region, but also low level of testing. In his opening talk Prof. Dr. Sc. Josip Begovac from Zagreb said that most of newly discovered cases are late presenters, and the average in the region is significantly higher than the European average.
The documentary Voices was shown during the Conference and according to the words of the producer, Simon Constable, this movie was motivated by stigma and discrimination for people living with HIV and AIDS. He said that “What we want to stress is that the storyline gives hope, which is why everyone should see the movie. The key message is we can find solutions if we work together.
On the second day of the Conference, Dr. Jovan Ranin from Belgrade presented results of a research conducted among the patients of the clinic for infectious diseases in Belgrade who had co-infection of Hepatitis C. “Risk of bad viral and immune response is twice as high in patients who use ARV treatment and have Hepatitis C as well. Risk of a terminal outcome is twice as high as well”, said Dr. Ranin.
Representatives of the Q-Club on the conference were Nada Mićić, Nenad Petković and Rade Kuzmanović, while Bratislav Prokić took part in the plenary discussion and gave lectures on the Role and significatce of psycho-social support centers and Key problems in the healthcare system in Serbia.
Bratislav pointed out the quality and sustainability as primary chalenges for psycho-social services and concluded that achieving standards is the only way to make psycho-social support recognised and supported by the social system and potential donors. Bratislav presented the problems in the healthcare system from the view Q-Club’s the five-month campaign. The most significant results of the campaign were on patient information confidentiality, and some minor improvements regarding introduction of new medications and stockouts diagnostic tests.
We thank the organizers and hosts of the conference, and hope for successful future cooperation.
The second PLHIV conference of Serbia – supported by the Global Fund, and organized by the Youth of Yazas and USOP , took place in Belgrade, May 19-21. The conference was officially opened by the president of the Assembly and acting president of the Republic of Serbia, Dr. Slavica Đukić Dejanović, along with other representatives of the government and non-government sector. In the opening of the conference, some of HIV pandemic data was presented, which showed that data held by different sectors significantly differ and is differently understood.
During the three day conference, lecturers from the country and the region spoke of (non)availability of the modern ARV therapy, diagnostics and treatment, human rights, discrimination, as well as about the aspects and perspectives of regional networking.
Dr. Mariane Mardarescu from Romania talked about the specific epidemic situation in Romania, and a very balanced percentage of men and women infected. She stressed that an auction of all medicines was organised in Romania few years ago, which resulted with very favourable prices in the country.
Lack of modern therapies and diagnostics in Serbia which invoked the highest interest of the participants. „When we had medicine procurement problems, I publically said that no patient will be a single prescription, and such determination led to finding solutions and therapies abailable“ said Dr. Denes Benhegyi from Hungary – receiving a standing ovation.
Member of the City council of Belgrade, Nataša Milošević and city vice-secretary Aleksandar Stefoski organised a reception in Stari Dvor for 80 members of the conference, and repeatedly stressed the importance of improving the position of people „diseased by HIV“.
Four activists of the Q-Club from Niš, Jagodina and Belgrade participated on the conference, while the executive director, Nenad Petković, gave a lecture on human rights. He stressed the role and significance of fighting for human rights in HIV/AIDS, and said that our system is rather specific in that domain.
The Second PLHIV conference opened a lot of subjects related to HIV, but our impression is that the state officials gave only declarative support to the position of PLHIV, and their presence was not used to get the answers for lack of solutions of chronic problems in the healthcare system and treatment of PLHIV. This approach demonstrates the lack of coordination in the national response to HIV, lack of political will and expertise for radical improvement of the position of people living with HIV in Serbia.