Partnership Forum on HIV/AIDS

Meeting of the Partnership Forum on HIV/AIDS supported by WHO/UNAIDS took place on May 23, 2012. It discussed the experience of some HIV-infection prevention programs with the aim to consider premises for harmonized approaches to the implementation of programs.

Among the participants were Jean-Elie Malkin, regional director of the UN Program on HIV/AIDS for Europe and Central Asia, officials from Russia’s Ministry for Health and Social Development and Ministry for Education and Science and representatives of regions.

Mr. Jean-Elie Malkin, in his introductory remarks, informed the forum that AIDS-related problems were aggravating in some countries despite the effort of the international community to eradicate this disease. The latest UN report showed that HIV spread especially rapidly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In the period from 2001 to 2011, the number of HIV-infected people there has increased by 250%. He noted that ‘90% of the infected in the regions are in Russia and Ukraine where their number amounts to 1,5 million. Our task is to elaborate new prevention programs to deal with the problem and, as it is already the case in over 50 other countries, to get the epidemic subsided and stabilized’.

The forum considered the experience of HIV infection prevention programs realized in Russia by non-governmental organizations, the Russian Orthodox Church and governmental bodies.

Ms. Irina Kondratyeva presented a preventive program ‘All That Concerns You’ of the Health and Development Foundation. It is aimed at promoting the healthy way of life among the youth and includes various aspects — physical, mental, moral and reproductive health of teenagers. The use of modern interactive methods makes it possible to involve teenagers in this work.

Margarita Nelyubova (Russian Orthodox Church) presented the Ladya program. It is based on the principles of non-specific prevention which helps to form such a system of spiritual and moral guidelines for teenagers as, once realized in their behaviour, will minimise the risk of the spread of HIV infection. It is achieved through the development of the good principles in children, their ability to resist evil and their spiritual and moral potential.

The Dance4Life program was presented by the director of the project, Ms Tatiana Yevlampieva, Rostov. It is intended for preventive work with schoolchildren in the 8th — 11th grades. Under this program, children receive the necessary information about HIV/AIDS including the ways of transmission and about the difference between HIV and AIDS. They also undergo testing. An important positive point of the program is that the classes are conducted in a non-standard interactive form attractive for teenagers. During classes, children learn about the international movement ‘Dance4Life’ and are taught to dance.

The HIV infection prevention in the sphere of labour was highlighted by Yekaterina Ivanova, a specialist of the International Labour Organization. She made a report about the experience of and approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the sphere of labour. She pointed out that it was inadmissible to stigmatize and discriminate people living with HIV/AIDS in labour relations and shared the experience of joint efforts made by governments, trade unions and employers in opposing the epidemic.

Participating in the discussion on programs for HIV primary prevention were representatives of education and medicine from various regions in Russia and other countries. On the whole, all the programs received positive assessment. The participants pointed to the need for obligatory support to be given to programs on the governmental level.

Summing up the discussion, Jean-Elie Malkin thanked all the participants and noted that the only effective way of preventing the spread of HIV infection at present lies in the education of the population and propaganda of the healthy way of life, and everyone can make his or her contribution to the struggle with HIV/AIDS through active participation in preventive activities.