In Saint-Petersburg an international conference on issues relevant to HIV-infection was held. E.V.A. representatives presented at the event.
On the 30-31 of May, 2016 in Saint Petersburg an international scientific-practical conference Actual Issues of HIV Infection was held. The main aims of the conference were to support dialogue and the exchange of experience between medical specialists, representatives from ministries and agencies, civil society, the community of PLWH, and Russian and international NGOs working with HIV-infection.
NP E.V.A. Executive Director Julia Godunova presented a report on the topic Evaluation of the Barriers to Preventing HIV-Infection from Mother to Child in 11 EECA Countries.
In order to understand what barriers exist in the road to prevention, EVA and the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA) conducted a survey of 240 HIV-positive women with children under age 5 in 11 countries of the EECA region (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine), in-depth interviews with HIV+ women (20 interviews), interviews with representatives from civil society working with women (24 interviews), and collected best practices of civil society in PMTCT.
The research’s main findings:
Stopping the transmission of HIV from mothers to children will be achieved under the condition of consolidating the efforts of employees of the health care system and representatives from civil society.
There remain unsolved issues of PMTCT:
— Timely detection of HIV among people living in rural areas as well as women whose partners are migrant workers;
— Development of a support system for pregnant HIV-positive women who suffer from mental illness;
— Work with religious leaders in places where they have significant influence on issues of informing about HIV infection and in working with people living with HIV;
— Creation of gender-oriented services to attract women to harm reduction assistance for PLWH who are closely connected to the health care system.
Read the full report here (in Russian): Evaluation of the Barriers to Preventing HIV Infection from Mother to Child in 11 EECA Countries.
NP E.V.A. Monitoring and Evaluations Specialist Irina Evdokimova presented a report on the topic The Needs of HIV Positive Women in Medical and Social Services: Results from a Survey of 10 Russian Regions. The survey took place in 2015-2016 and included 988 women.
— The survey results showed that women face poverty, and request assistance in obtaining benefits, of breastmilk substitutes (BMS).
— The situation with discrimination in medical facilities has improved since 2013-2014, and the greatest shift is the disappearance of marking about HIV on the cover of medical charts.
— Support for the close community is more significant for women when they learn of their status, and when they start treatment, support from doctors and peer counselors is more important.
— HIV positive women continue to use ineffective methods of contraception, which is evidenced by unplanned pregnancies.
— The number of couples whose partner’s HIV status is unknown is reducing.
— HIV-positive women do not always go to the doctors whose help they need. It must be cleared up that this is a hindrance (they only go to those who are in the AIDS centers, are busy taking care of their children or loved ones, are afraid of being subjected to stigma, etc.).
Read the full report here (in Russian): The Needs of HIV Positive Women in Medical and Social Services: Results from a Survey of 10 Russian Regions.
The conference’s organizers – the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, the Scientific-Practical Center for Prevention and Treatment of HIV Infection Among Pregnant Women and Children of the Ministry of Health of the RF, the Republican Clinical Infectious Disease Hospital, the Federal Scientific-Methodical Center for the Prevention and Combat of AIDS, The Saint Petersburg Government, the Saint Petersburg Committee on Public Health, and Man and His Health Organization with support from UNAIDS, UNICEF, and WHO.