Photo: AHF Europe Bureau recently met in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In April, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Europe crossed a momentous milestone – 50,000 patients in care in partnership with the region’s national treatment programs.
AHF-supported sites in Russia and Ukraine account for the majority of these clients. The achievement is particularly remarkable because Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is the only region of the world where the HIV epidemic continues to rapidly expand.
“This is a tremendous achievement for the AHF Europe team and our partners, only our joint work makes it possible to provide cutting-edge care and treatment to over 15% of those who receive treatment in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where ART (antiretroviral therapy) coverage is the lowest in the world,” said Zoya Shabarova, AHF Europe Bureau Chief.
AHF has been working in the EECA region since 2008 by providing direct medical care, testing and counselling services and distributing millions of condoms. On the advocacy front, the Bureau has been responsible for dramatic successes in promoting the adoption of community-based rapid HIV testing and of a patient-centered care model which integrates clinical and psychosocial services and makes them conveniently accessible to patients.
AHF Europe tested nearly 210,000 clients and distributed over 2 million free condoms in 2016. The cumulative number of testes reached 600,000 in 2017 from the rollout of the rapid testing program in 2010. Currently, AHF Europe supports 26 treatment sites in Ukraine, 19 sites in Russia and 1 site in Estonia in collaboration with the national healthcare systems.
“We are the largest provider of testing and treatment services across seven countries in Europe and are very proud of being able to save thousands of lives across our continent. This is another example of AHF’s commitment to its global mission over its 30-year history,” Shabarova said.
In a related development, on May 15, AHF Europe formally joined the European Commission’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum (CSF) as one of its newest members. The CSF is an advisory body that was established in 2005 to facilitate NGO and HIV-related network participation in European policy development and implementation.
“Our participation with the Civil Society Forum will allow us to bring our advocacy issues to decision makers at the European Commission,” AHF Deputy Bureau Chief Anna Zakowicz said. “This participation puts AHF in a position to have influence over policy changes at a very high level.”