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Community-based HIV testing under attack in Lithuania

Association “Demetra” would like to inform about the inconceivable situation in Lithuania regarding an attack on community-based rapid HIV testing by governmental organizations.

"As a response to Demetra’s HIV testing services, National Communicable Diseases and AIDS Centre (CCAC) started inspections of Demetra without any notice, basing its actions on legislation which has not been updated since 2010 and does not respond to WHO, ECDC or EMCDDA recommendations. In the last two months, CCAC submitted four complaints to governmental institutions against “Demetra”. Based on these complains, four commissions inspected rapid community-based HIV testing services on the pretext that rapid HIV testing is an invasive medical procedure which must be perform only in accredited medical facility. Rapid HIV testing for vulnerable populations who have limited access to medical facilities is already available for self-testing and, according to its official instruction, can be performed at the point of care, is certainly not subject to such medicalized approach.

The governmental institution responsible for HIV response, methodological support and cooperation with the NGO sector, has started a brutal fight with an NGO in which a supportive atmosphere and trust from most affected populations gives us a possibility to provide services that nobody else provides in the country. The inspection commissions also visited our partner institutions that are accredited medical facilities seeking to intimidate and stop the rapid HIV testing activities." Read the full press release.

AIDS Action Europe expresses our solidarity with the Lithunian Association of HIV affected women and their families “Demetra”.  Community based testing is one of the corner pillars in achieving the first of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. Creating barriers for CBVCT and making the work of community based organisations impossible will lead to lower access to testing and increase of undetected HIV infections. 

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