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01.12.08

On November 28, 2008, the Volgograd Oblast Administration hosted a meeting of the Regional Interagency HIV Prevention Council held on the occasion of the forthcoming World AIDS Day to evaluate the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS response at the regional level.

According to data presented at this meeting, he HIV incidence in this region tends to stabilized. For the first 10 months of 2008, HIV incidence is 18.5 per 100,000 population versus 18.3 per 100,000 for 2007. To a great extent, such stabilisation has resulted from considerable prevention efforts undertaken in the region.

As noted by A. G. Filippov, First Deputy, Oblast Health Committee, a number of social health promotion projects and programs are implemented in the Oblast for these purposes. In this region, major HIV/AIDS projects are implemented as part of the National Priority Health Project, the GF-supported Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS, and the Oblast Targeted Social Disease Prevention and Control Program for 2007-2010 (the Anti-HIV/AIDS Sub-Program). The Anti-HIV/AIDS Sub-Program was the first to unite efforts of the following three Oblast Administration Committees: the Education Committee, the Health Committee and the Committee for Youth Affairs. E.g., health specialists have conducted two surveys among the risk groups in Volgograd and Volzhskoye, which have the highest HIV incidence rates. Results of those surveys were used to produce guidelines for situational monitoring. The Education Committee arranged training for teachers and published literature on HIV/AIDS prevention among teenagers. The Committee on Youth Affairs helped to publish a series of information products.

Alongside with prevention activities, the region focuses on care to those who have been already infected with HIV. There are over 6,200 HIV-positive people in the Oblast, including 1,210 patients under antiretroviral treatment. ARV treatment is provided practically to all those who are in need of it.

Treatment of most patients (87%) is funded by the GF-support Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS. Good outcomes are achieved in perinatal prevention. Almost all HIV-positive pregnant women were covered with chemoprevention during pregnancy or delivery. This enabled to minimise the HIV incidence rates among newborns.

The Russian Health Care Foundation supports major efforts to provide services to HIV patients and their relatives under non-medical service, palliative care and multi-professional team projects.

At the same time, as stressed at the meeting, the HIV situation remains rather tense in the region, and will require significant measures in future. It was recommended that the Oblast Health Committee and the Social Protection Department should set up a special interagency team (by February 1, 2009) to provide medical and social support to HIV-infected people who are facing difficult life situations Another identified objective is to have preventive activities implemented among labour migrants. Experience shows that in communities of labour migrants, the risk of HIV transmission is also high. Therefore, it is suggested that the Regional Interagency HIV Prevention Council should include a representative from the Regional Department of the Federal Migration Service. In addition, such regional bodies as the Committee for Nationalities Affairs, the Treasury, the Health Committee, the Public Relations Department, the Department for Relations with and Assistance to Faith-Based Organisations should make cooperate with national diasporas and faith-based organisations to cause HIV prevention activities to be implemented in communities of labour migrants.

A. G. Filippov, First Deputy, Oblast Health Committee, deems it most important to inform the regions inhabitants (especially, young people) about safer behaviours to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and to teach them to live in the vicinity of this infection; he also notes that health workers alone are unable to cope with this task, it is necessary to involve all social entities and civil society (parties, movements, non-governmental organisations) into HIV/AIDS prevention and eventually into health promotion efforts. It is necessary to inform and involve heads of administrations and public leaders. It is intended to hold a cycle of training conferences for heads of administrations of municipal entities and rural settlements, director of enterprises, institutions and organisations. Very good health promotion experience has been gained by territorial public self-governance bodies in many rural rayons in the Oblast. At their initiatives, over 500 health promotion clubs were opened and more than 1,000 sporting grounds constructed. Such initiatives should be followed by territorial public self-governance bodies of Volgograd City. It is only by joint efforts that we can achieve good results, make health a priority for each inhabitant of the Volgograd Oblast and ensure that a healthy life style is integral part of human culture.


28.11.08

28.11.08 - 08.12.08A tender is announced to procure rapid test-systems for standard HIV testing as part of post-exposure prevention. Procured test-systems will be supplied to regional health facilities and prisons. Interested organisations are invited to submit their quotations.


19.11.08

The Moscow State Technological University named after N. Bauman hosted and the Russian Health Care Foundation provided financial support for the Annual Russian Nation-Wide Healthy Generation - Healthy Russia Congress, which was held on November 18 - 19, 2008.

The Congress brought together representatives from the State Duma, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, rayon and city administrations, principals of regional and rural schools, teachers, scientists, artists and sportsmen, representatives from international civil society and commercial organisations, and journalists from lead mass media.

M. Shegai and Z. Yusufova, Program Coordinators from the Russian Health Care Foundation, took part in the plenary session on integration of HIV-infected children into education environment, which was chaired by L.A. Dementyeva, Deputy Head, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Unit, Rospotrebnadzor, and A.A. Gerish, Deputy Head, Unit, Department of Child Education, Additional Training and Social Warfare, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

A major presentation was made the Irkutsk Department of the Russian Red Cross to share their successful experience under a program for teachers of HIV-infected children implemented in this region under the 4th Round Program of the Global Fund. So far, only four out of the eighty three Russian regions can afford and have capacity to train such teachers. This program was evaluated and commended by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and Rospotrebnadzor.


17.11.08

On November 17 - 20, 2008, an HIV treatment and HAART adherence training seminar will be held for prison physicians. The training is organised by the Russian Health Care Foundation together with the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, with inputs from the Health Department of the Russian Federal Prison Service. The seminar is conducted as part of the project to improve the provision of ARV treatment for the penal system.

The training is offered to representatives from the regional departments of the Federal Prison Service for the Arkhangelsk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Saratov, Orenburg, Oblasts and the Komi Republic; and is delivered by V.V. Belyaeva, A.V. Kravchenko and V.G. Kanestri from the Federal AIDS Centre.

The project strategy was designed to integrate the following key HIV/AIDS objectives of the prison medical service for 2008:

- Provide HIV treatment in compliance with respective health care standards
- Establish a regulatory and legal framework for interagency cooperation and coordination in the area of HIV-infected people examination and ARV treatment in prisons
- Assure treatment quality, among other things, through adherence stimulation and laboratory control
- Design a system of orders and ensure an even flow of antiretroviral drugs and test-systems
- Coordinate HIV control activities under the National Priority Health Project, the GF Project and the World Bank Project
- Establish an HIV/AIDS care system of the prison sector.




28.10.08

The Russian Health Care Foundation requested the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to procure electronic segmented pill boxes with count-down timers for HIV patients under antiretroviral treatment. The company procured 4,500 pill boxes and delivered them to program regions on October 27, 2008.

In October 2008, it was the second batch of such pill boxes supplied to regions. The total number of provided pill boxes is 9,000.

It is intended to supply regions with 4,500 more pill boxes procured by the Rosh-Moscow JSC per request from the Russian Health Care Foundation and to be delivered to the regions in the nearest time.

We want to express our gratitude to Igor Pchelin, Chairman, Steps Regional Charity Foundation to Fight AIDS, for the assistance in selecting and testing the pill box, and to Andrey Zlobin, Program Manager, HIV Treatment Access and Adherence Programs, Community of People Living with HIV NGO, for his assistance in arranging the Internet focus-group, and to all its participants.

Below, you will find a list of contacts for HIV patients treated with ARV-drugs to obtain the pill boxes.


06.10.08

On October 4, 2008, participants of the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon tried to increase the visibility of HIV-infected peoples concerns in Kiev. During a special press conference in the City Administration premises, its participants talked about the relevance of the HIV/AIDS problem for the Ukraine as a whole and for Kiev. As noted by Sergey Berezenko, Director, Department of the Family and Youth Affairs, the city authorities render support in developing a network of accessing targeted social services for HIV/AIDS-affected children, youth, and families. Such services are provided by specialists from public sector institutions and HIV-service NGOs.

According to Sergey Berezenko, the number of HIV-infected children and young people under 35 has been ever growing. He notes that children and young people living with HIV/AIDS and their families face numerous social problems, and to address them, an integrated approach is needed. In particular, under broader city programs implemented by the Kiev City Centre of Social Services for Families, Children and Youth and the Ukrainian Nation-Wide PLWHA Network (a Ukrainian Nation-Wide Charity Organisation), social workers provided targeted support to 4,713 citizens of Kiev, living with HIV/AIDS and their families (social assistance and psychological care to PLWHA families, educational services, etc.).

Sergey Berezenko also notes that the Mayor of Kiev made critically important decisions to establish and maintain such municipal institutions as the Centre for HIV-Infected Children and Youth to improve the availability of and access to free-of-charge social services. In 2007, needed renovation works were completed and new equipment procured to sustain the operation of these institutions. In May 2008, the following municipal institutions were officially opened: the Kiev City Left-Bank Centre for HIV-Infected Children and Youth and the Kiev City Right-Bank Centre for HIV-Infected Children and Youth.

Answering journalists questions about the extension of the Automobile Marathon from Russia to these countries of the CIS, Yuri Nepomnyashchikh, Director, Pressexpert TV Company (one of the Marathon organisers), reminded of the growing leading and coordinating role of the Russian Federation in the response to communicable diseases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as undertaken during Russias G8 Presidency.


02.10.08

On September 29, 2008, a concert of Russian pop music stars took place in the central park in Donetsk (the Ukraine) to launch the campaign associated with the International Stop AIDS Automobile Marathon in the Ukraine. These rock music stars decided to take care of the nations health without waiting while it would be done by medical people and politicians. Now, they announced war not only to drug-use, but also to AIDS. It is for the second time that such a STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon is conducted in Russia after the 2007 event, and one of its organisers is the Russian Health Care Foundation. This year, it is joined by the Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.

Among its well-known participants, there are such rock musicians as Evgeny Felkistov and the Konts Filma Group, Yulia Chicherina, Vlad Topalov and the Den Radio Group, and Alexey Lysenkov, acting as the host of the concert; they arrived with the marathon columns of 7 vehicles - the stars, accustomed to touring life, call them wheeled mini-houses.

Music does not recognize national borders. We want to harness its power to conquer the virus which separates people with its own borders, says Evgeny Felkistov.

Note: In the Ukraine, every day, 6 people die from AIDS and 120 people are registered as HIV infection cases. According to the Donetsk Oblast AIDS Centre, there are 42,326 identified HIV-infected persons, with 28,773 of them officially registered as HIV-infected local residents (625.27 per 100,000 population). Specialists say that this figure may be, for sure, multiplied by 3, or perhaps even by 5 to arrive at the actual rate. It should be noted that 65% of these cases are people under 39. The Ukrainian capital of HIV/AIDS is Mariupol.


30.09.08

The Belarusian part of the Marathon will include a roundtable to promote Partnership between Civil Society and Public Authorities for purposes of HIV Prevention and Control, as well as trainings for infectionists in HIV treatment adherence.

HIV/AIDS prevention lectures will be offered in schools. On the day of the Marathon arrival in Minsk (October 5, 2008), a concert of Russian and Belarusian pop music stars will take place there.

The Belarusian community of people living with HIV will also take part in the STOP AIDS campaign. Earlier, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia network of PLWH organisations, including the Belarusian community of PLWH, made an appeal to the Presidents of Moldova, the Ukraine and Belarus.

Among other things, it contains a request to the Presidents to support the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon: We are sure that the top-level support to the campaign will make an indispensable input into the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia, Moldova, the Ukraine and Belarus. It is also emphasised that this campaign was rated as a best practice in the area of HIV prevention and stigma and discrimination reduction in Eastern Europe.

In Belarus, the response to the appeal was immediate: upon agreement with the Presidents Administration, an organising committee was set up for the Automobile Marathon. Its meeting was held, with respective instructions made.

According to the HIV/AIDS Prevention Division of the Belarusian Centre of Hygiene, Epidemiology, and Public Health, during the eight months of 2008, 545 HIV-infected cases were identified versus 648 cases during the eight months of 2007. As of September 1, 2008, the total number registered HIV cases is 9,282 (or 95.8 per 100,000 population), in Belarus. In the period of January - August, 2008, 81 newly identified HIV infection cases were registered in Minsk alone (4.5 cases per 100,000 population), including 43 women (53.1%) and 38 men (46.9%). The heterosexual transmission has become prevailing and accounted for 67.9% of these cases (55 persons), with the share of transmission through injecting drug use being 30.9% (25 persons).


26.09.08

According to Boris Golovin, Deputy Minister of Health of Moldova, Kishinev will be visited by the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon, which is driving through 17 cities to deploy an anti-AIDS campaign.

The Marathon has already crossed Russia from the Arctic Ocean to the Black See to drive through the CIS now. On October 2, 2008, they will arrive in Kishinev. There, the campaign will include trainings for physicians, seminars on primary HIV/AIDS prevention, press conferences, and lectures in 8 schools.

As noted by Deputy Minister Golovin, the HIV spread is a global problem; in Moldova, there are over 4,500 HIV-positive persons. Young people, aged from 20 to 39, account for almost 82% of the HIV-infected population. The Ministry of Health keeps on monitoring the situation.

O. Benesh, Director, National Research and Care Centre of Preventive Medicine, deems it necessary to enhance the involvement of young people into fighting HIV/AIDS. Primary prevention is the most effective weapon to combat this disease. Now, few HIV infection are registered, but their number is increasingly growing in Moldova. The infection is spreading not only within the risk groups; it is a threat for everybody.


23.09.08

A two-day Conference on Adherence and Care to Prevent ARV Drug Resistance was opened in Moscow.

It was organised by the World Health Organisation, the Russian Health Care Foundation, the Federal AIDS Centre and the Open Health Institute.

The agenda includes sessions on:

1. Epidemiology of resistance to ARV drugs (presentations: the WHOs ARV drug resistance surveillance strategy; HIV epidemic development and spread of primary resistance to ARV drugs in Russia; drug resistance monitoring; methodological recommendations on surveillance over the drug resistant HIV strains in Russia).

2. Laboratory ARV drug susceptibility testing (presentations on various drug susceptibility tests, available in Russia; methodological recommendations on laboratory detection of drug-resistant HIV strains; ARV drug resistance detection in patients after HAART in the Central Federal District; up-to-date laboratory equipment for ARV DST)

3. Adherence and clinical issues (presentations on HIV clinical aspects and indicative ARV treatment regimens for drug-resistant patients; the WHOs recommendations on modifying ARV treatment regimens when individual diagnosis is not available; ARV treatment adherence programs in Russia; adherence stimulation; ways to improve access and adherence to treatment in Russia; models of HIV care provision in St-Petersburg and Orenburg.

The Conference has brought together specialists from the Regional AIDS Centres of the Kemerovo, Tyumen, Ulyanovsk, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Rostov, Perm, Moscow, and Tula Oblasts, the Primorsky and Krasnoyarsk Krays, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Udmurtia, the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District and the Sub-National AIDS Centres of the Southern, Volga and Ural Federal Districts.

The Conference is attended by Luigi Migliorini, Head of the WHO Country Office in Russia, Corinna Reinicke, HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator from the WHO Moscow Office, V.V. Pokrovsky, Director of the Federal AIDS Centre, L.A. Dementyeva, Deputy Chief of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Division, Rospotrebnadzor, lead specialists from the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology, the Open Health Institute, as well as Yulia Brodskaya and Marina Shegai, Project Managers from the Russian Health Care Foundation.


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