The fifth Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference (EECAAC), the largest Russian-speaking event in the HIV/AIDS field, took place in Moscow on March 23-25. Held every two years, the EECAAC provides an opportunity for participants to learn about the latest developments in HIV/AIDS care and creates a forum for communities to speak directly to decision-makers and help shape the future of the HIV/AIDS agenda. Opening remarks on behalf of the HIV positive communities in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region were made by Andrey Zlobin, Quality Manager for AHF Russia.
AHF Russia regularly takes part in the EECAAC and plays an active role, highlighting numerous campaigns and initiatives. This year marked the launch of the “Fund the Fund” campaign in the European Bureau. The campaign received vast support from EECA countries who face a serious lack of resources and still rely on the Global Fund to respond to the HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics.
Denis Godlevskiy, AHF Advocacy Manager for Russia and Ukraine presented on the “Raise the MIC” campaign at “the high level panel session on the possibility to achieve the SDGs.” He also addressed the future of HIV responses in the region. Fellow panelists included the Head of the Armenian AIDS Center and the Advisor to the Minister of Health of Kazakhstan.
Anna Zakowicz, Deputy Chief of the AHF Europe Bureau, co-facilitated the session on the new 2015 WHO Test and Treat guidelines and spoke about innovative ways of testing within the region. AHF team members and partners from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Estonia met with WHO experts on how to best promote implementation of the guidelines within the Eastern European Region. It was the first meeting of its kind that promoted sharing of experiences between partner organizations.
AHF was invited by “Radio Liberty,” to participate in a show dedicated to the HIV response in EECA along with UNAIDS representatives. Denis Godlevskiy gave the closing statement, speaking about the importance of policy change, treatment coverage expansion, access to generic drugs, stigma and discrimination against key populations, and the denial of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among MSM in the EECA region by government officials.