In a hopeful step toward addressing the AIDS epidemic in Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently signed the “Action Plan to Implement the Strategy to Fight HIV.” Civil society groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), many of whom partner with AHF Russia, were involved in various stages leading up to the development of the plan, including participation in the working group convened to outline and draft the strategy.
The following are some of the objectives the plan aims to deliver: reduce the price of condoms by encouraging market competition; update the models of prevention, diagnostics and care; improve prevention and testing among vulnerable groups through cooperation with NGOs; and make rapid testing centers more accessible, which would allow patients to register and access modern HIV treatment more quickly.
“The new plan has a timeline attached to it and responsibilities delegated to select government ministries and stakeholders,” AHF Russia Country Program Manager Natalia Mironova said. “Cooperation with NGOs is a crucial part of the strategy, especially the aspects related to reaching out to key populations.”
The first steps in the implementation of the plan include analysis and improvement of the current national legal framework on HIV and development of standards for the rollout of rapid testing centers. AHF together with its partners in Russia supports the implementation of the rapid testing model in nine regions. In 2016, this partnership resulted in 78,047 rapid HIV tests being performed in 2016, helping to reveal 2,846 new HIV cases. In 2017, AHF together with partners in Russia plans to conduct 86,000 HIV tests.