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New project: Community Led and Based HIV Services - Key to Ending the HIV Epidemic in Europe and Central Asia

Community-based voluntary counselling and testing services (CBVCT) have proven to be one of the most effective tools in reaching key populations and providing access to testing for HIV, TB, hepatitis, and STI, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the availability of self-tests for HIV created an option for people who might otherwise avoid testing services due to multiple reasons, including stigma and discrimination. However, numerous barriers standing in the way of provision or scaling up of CBVCTs and HIV self-tests still exist in many countries. These barriers include lack of funding, legal and policy barriers imposed by the governments, and high prices for testing kits, including self-tests.  Taking these hurdles into account, AIDS Action Europe (AAE), Centre for Epidemiological Studies of Sexually Transmitted Disease and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT), and the Milanese unit of the Italian League for Fighting AIDS (LILA Milano) have joined forces in the framework of the COBATEST Network to apply to the “Zeroing In - Ending the HIV Epidemic” call for grants by Gilead. We have received funding for the project "Community Led and Based HIV Services - Key to Ending the HIV Epidemic in Europe and Central Asia".  Within the project: AIDS Action Europe will assess legal and policy barriers to CBVCT services and HIV self-testing in the countries of the COBATEST Network. The assessment will result in a legal report and a policy brief with recommendations, as well as providing support in the form of a small grant for 6 member organisations from the countries with the most challenging legal environments. CEEISCAT will support the COBATEST network members with data collection, analysis, and reporting by developing a new online scheduling and follow-up tool.  LILA Milano will implement  a pilot campaign providing and delivering free self-tests for HIV across Italy. The campaign is hoped to raise awareness and increase the acceptability of HIV self-testing among communities, thus becoming a positive example for other countries.   The findings of the project will be presented in a series of webinars starting in 2023: 1. Advocacy for the provision of CBVCT services and HIV self-testing. 2. Using the COBATEST data collection tool. 3. Good practice exchange: lessons learnt from the Italian campaign on HIV self-testing. With this project, we aim to increase, adapt, and improve community-based testing services for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections, and to promote the rollout of self-tests in Europe and Central Asia, focusing on those populations where diagnosis and linkage to care are lower than the national average. The project goes in line with the Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026. “End Inequalities. End AIDS”: Progress in recent years demonstrates the essential role of community-led HIV responses in global efforts to end AIDS. Communities have led efforts to identify and address key inequalities; expanded the evidence base for action to end AIDS as a public health threat…  (Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026. “End Inequalities. End AIDS”)  

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Apply to become an AIDS Action Europe Steering Committee Member now!

Are you involved in an HIV/AIDS related NGO or community group? Is your organisation a member or partner of AIDS Action Europe? Are you motivated to work towards a more effective response to the HIV epidemic in Europe and Central Asia? To find out more about position and criteria please click here. If you are interested and meet the criteria, please apply! Your application should consist of a…
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After the Russian Parliament Elections: what to expect?

After the recent elections to the State Duma in Russia last Sunday, it became clear that the legislative strategy of the Russian Parliament regarding civil society is unlikely to change and civil society in Russia will continue to face obstacles. In recent months we have seen the further worsening of the situation in the Russian Federation related to the application of the so called “foreign…
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EU funded project on MSM launched

On 5-6th of September 2016 the kick off meeting for a new EU funded project on men who have sex with men (MSM) took place in Luxembourg. Based on the EMIS survey in 2010, a new EMIS survey addressing MSM will be part of the project. On top of that community health workers are at focus. A survey will  focus on knowledge and attitudes of community health workers who work with MSM and a training…
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European Commission approves PrEP

Yesterday, 22 August, 2016, the European Commission announced the admission of Truvada as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) in all 28 EU member states. Experts believe that it will be available on the pharmaceutical market within the next 6 months. Already now PrEP plays an important role, along with other measures, in HIV prevention. At the International AIDS Conference 2016 in Durban,…
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Online application for community based research training - Aids Foundation East-West

Our partner organization AFEW (International) is organising a community-based research programme. The programme consists of several trainings and a small grants fund for community-based research projects. The programme is meant for communities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) and is aimed to result in the submission of abstracts for the International AIDS Conference 2018, which will be…
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World Hepatitis Day 2016 - many obstacles on the way to elimination of viral hepatitis

Since 2010 the World Hepatitis Day is held on July 28. On this day the world focuses on raising awareness about viral hepatitis. According to World Health Organization there are an estimated 400 million people infected with viral hepatitis B and C and around 1.45 million die annually from their consequences. Until recently, there was no global strategy on viral hepatitis, but in May 2016 the…
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HIV-service organizations subject to the “foreign agent” act in Russia

More and more non-governmental organizations in Russia are included to the list of „foreign agents”, including HIV-service organizations. Some of our member organizations are also affected; Harm Reduction Network ESVERO in Moscow was recently registered as a “foreign agent”. As stated on the website of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, the decision was made during the…
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Ending AIDS – not without the Eastern European and Central Asian countries

The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) took place from 18 till 22 July, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. This year’s slogan was Access Equity Rights Now. Our colleague, Michael Krone, was attending the conference. Please see below his article focusing on the situation in the EECA region. “I am hearing only bad news on Radio Africa” is a song from the 80s that I, currently attending the…

AAE activities in 2016: What we have done and what is planned

Today we would like to share with you our latest news on the activities of AIDS Action Europe in the first half of the year and also our plans and upcoming activities for the second half of the year. Meeting of the Steering Committee In April, the Steering Committee of AAE met in Belgrade, Serbia. It was a productive meeting with discussions on profiling of AAE and our planning till AIDS 2018.…
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Branded as foreign agent organisation in Russia

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation in Russia was just listed as an organisation carrying out the functions of a Foreign Agent. "Our organization works on issues related to public health: prevention of HIV, Tuberculosis, hepatitis C and drug overdoses. We also provide social support to people who suffer from drug dependence, helping them to stay healthy, referring them to medical and social services…
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SRHR and Funding – “The Elephants in the Room”

AIDS Action Europe holds a seat on the NGO Delegation unaidspcbngo.org  to the UNAIDS PCB for the period of 2016-2017. Our colleague, Ferenc Bagyinszky, is the alternate delegate for Europe. The UNAIDS PCB has held its biannual meeting recently. Please find below a report from the perspective of our delegate. The 38th PCB meeting of the UNAIDS was held on June 28-30. UNAIDS was the first ever UN…

AAE hosted the presentation of the “aMASE - advancing Migrants Access to health Services in Europe” study results

On June 22nd, 2016, AAE hosted the presentation of the “aMASE - advancing Migrants Access to health Services in Europe” study results, presented by Matthias Wienold (Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum e.V., Hannover). aMASE is a study funded by the European Commission and part of EuroCoord (Enhancing clinical and epidemiological HIV research in Europe through cohort collaboration). One work package of…
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High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS – A half-hearted declaration does not acknowledge the leading role of communities and NGOs

EU HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum The United Nations intend to expand their engagement in order to end AIDS by 2030. That was the consensus of the declaration the member states adopted in the opening of the UN High Level Meeting in New York on ending AIDS. Before, there had been a political controversy because some countries, among them Russia, refused to support certain statements regarding…
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HA-REACT stakeholders’ involvement settled

The coordinators of the Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) work packages (WP) have completed the next steps of the project deliverables. Meetings took place with relevant stakeholders in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Each team also held a logical framework approach (LFA) workshop. The logframe approach is a project management…
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Sustainability of programmes and recurring stock-outs concern the Serbian civil society

AIDS Action Europe met Serbian stakeholders during its meeting in Belgrade. More than 40 representatives of 20 Serbian NGOs working in the fields of HIV/AIDS prevention have participated in the Stakeholder meeting on 12th of April 2016. Among them - representatives of NGOs work with women living with HIV, vulnerable groups like LGBT, sex workers, Roma youth, drug users and organisations working…
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“Linking and Learning" – AAE seminar at the EECAAC 2016

AIDS Action Europe (AAE) is participating in the 5th Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference in Moscow (EECAAC), on March 23-25, 2016. The decision of AAE’s participation was taken unanimously by the AAE Steering Committee. Anke van Dam, chair of the Steering Committee explains the decision: “With our attendance we want to express our support for the communities and its members in the…
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Sustainability and Long-Term Funding in the HA-REACT Joint Action

On 14-15 March 2016, the WP8 lead partner CHIP (REGIONH), Denmark, and the coordinator of HA-REACT, THL, met their work package partners from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia in Riga, Latvia. Guided by a logical framework approach (LFA), the meeting set the WP8 workplan for the coming years. The two main deliverables discussed were: an action-oriented…
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Introduction Video of the HIV/AIDS Clearinghouse 2016

AIDS Action Europe has been hosting the HIV/AIDS Clearinghouse – the central database on HIV and AIDS in Europe and Central Asia since 2007. Do you want to know how to use the Clearinghouse, please watch the video! The Clearinghouse enables NGOs in Europe and Central Asia to share good practices and key documents so that they can inspire each other in our efforts to fight the HIV epidemic. It…
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Open Letter to Prague Public Health Authority

Pan-European Networks of communities of people living with and affected by HIV, doctors and scientists call upon the Government of the Czech Republic to immediately stop the Prague Public Health Authority's persecution and intimidation of people living with HIV, and to return to evidence-based and proven practices in HIV prevention, testing and care in the Czech Republic. Brussels, 19 February…
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EU Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction launched

On 14-15 January 2016 in Vilnius, Lithuania, the European Union Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) held its first Partnership Forum to kick off activities. HA-REACT addresses existing gaps in the prevention of HIV and other co-infections, especially tuberculosis (TB) and viral hepatitis, among people who inject drugs (PWID). This three-year project was…
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AAE Steering Committee met Latvian civil society and other stakeholders in Riga

On April 20-21 the AIDS Action Europe (AAE) Steering Committee (SC) members had their first meeting of the year to discuss the new Strategic Framework and its actions, the Work Plan 2015, the review of AAE’s Communication Strategy and the Civil Society Forum Agenda for July 2015. In the afternoon of the second day, AAE met Latvian civil society representatives and other stakeholders at the…

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