In preparation for World AIDS Day, the IV Russian Forum for specialists on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment was held on the 26-27th of November in Moscow. HIV activist and EVA Association member Elena Ivanova took part in the event and told us how it was.
Among those who presented were the Deputy Minister of Health, Sergei Aleksandrovich Kraevoi, the Director of Youth Affairs and for work with community organizations of the fund for social and cultural initiatives, Sergei Alekseevich Smirnov, Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor, Mikhail Sergeevich Orlov, Director of the State Department of Politics in the defense of children’s rights, Evgeniy Aleksandrovich Kamaev, Director of the Ministry of Labor, Valeriy Anatolevich Korzh, General Director of UNAIDS for EECA, Vinay Patrick Saldanha, Specialist of the Program for the Control of TB, HIV, and viral hepatitis at the WHO European regional office, Elena Vovk.
On the first day both representatives of nonprofit organizations as well as the heads and deputy heads of governmental agencies spoke about the necessity for the collaboration between the government and the nonprofit sector. Sergei Aleksandrovich Kraevoi expressed great thanks to nonprofit organizations on behalf of the Ministry of Health and highlighted the need for joint work in combating HIV infection.
Evgeniy Aleksandrovich Silyanov presented the results of a large internet survey, which was conducted online among youth. “Over 81 thousand respondents took part in it. Only 55% of those asked had sufficient knowledge on the topic of HIV. We must continue the awareness raising work.” In regards to this the speaker remarked the significance of holding parent-teacher meetings on this topic.
There was also a ceremony for the winners of the contest for the best AIDS center. “One of the winners was the Saint Petersburg AIDS Center,” Elena reported. “I believe this decision is fair and right, considering that the management of our AIDS center systematically and effectively conducts high quality trainings, seminars, and other events to attract patients, activists, and experts to interact.”
On the second day there were arguments and discussions. After the drawn-out presentation by Anton Krasovsky, Sergei Kraevoi started the session on the Coordination Committee on HIV, announcing that the event was open for the forum’s participants.
Elena Evgenieva Zaitseva presented on the methodical recommendations for implementing events on HIV prevention and associated diseases for key groups as well as for supporting the activities of socially-oriented nonprofit organizations, which provide HIV prevention services. The most heated discussions were around the distribution of condoms and sterile devices. Sergei Kraevoi asked for statistical evidence to prove the effectiveness of this practice. Sergei Dugin, the head of the Humanitarian Action Foundation, noted that the specialists motivate those who visit their bus to go to the AIDS center. However, Sergei Kraevoi remarked that, according to the data shared at a closed meeting among the heads of AIDS Centers, 43% of people with a positive status in Saint Petersburg are diagnosed at a late stage. Later on the Minister of Health stated that condoms were prohibited to be purchased with state funds. “By this we encourage asocial behavior,” Sergei Kraevoi added. This phrase is already actively being disseminated across mass media.
“For me as a project coordinator I noted the importance of data collection in service projects, as well as their processing, analysis and use for effective work,” Elena Ivanova noted.