AHF program scope and scale of HIV interventions started from July 2018 within the Memorandum of Understanding between AHF and National Center for Disease Control (NCDC). According to the memorandum AHF donated 15 024 INSTI tests and 100,800 LOVE condoms to NCDC. The implementing partners for testing program are Public health centers in west Georgia (accomplished), local NGO “Tanadgoma” and LGBTQI CBO – “Equality Movement”. NGOs are distributing the LOVE condoms provided by AHF among KAPs as well as to general population.
AHF supported activities within Health Care Settings were valued by Government and based as a platform for integrated testing on HIV/HCV/TB.
AHF Georgia first Checkpoint (Located in Tbilisi) is under the preparation and the launch of the program is planned at the end of the year. The main focus of the program will be:
• 5 000 tests to be done with main focus on young MSM, youth at risk, prisoners (in total about 400 tests per month)
• Promotion and distribution of free LOVE condoms among youth including KAP
• Prevention goal: condom promotion and comprehensive sexual education among young population (outreach interventions using young volunteers, with specific focus on youth at risk)
• Advocacy and Marketing campaign to increase visibility of AHF interventions at country level as well as to attract more clients to AHF Checkpoint Tbilisi.
• Working with MPs and decision makers through UNITE to strengthen prevention interventions among young population
From July 2018 the implementing partners for testing program are Public health centers in west Georgia (accomplished), local NGO “Tanadgoma” (accomplished) and LGBTQI CBO – “Equality Movement” (accomplished). Currently NGOs are distributing the LOVE condoms provided by AHF among KAPs as well as to general population. In 2020 it is planned to continue the partnership with the NGOs.
AHF Georgia first Checkpoint will be opened at the end of 2019.
The registered number of HIV/AIDS cases does not reflect the actual spread of the infection in Georgia. The estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS is around 10 500. 35% of them are unaware of the HIV positive status.
By September 1, 2019: total 7,882 HIV/AIDS cases registered at AIDS Center (including 1,599 deceased). In 2019 – 448 new cases registered,
on ART – 4,833 patients (77% of 6,283 clients registered).
Distribution by roads of transmission: 47.6% Heterosexual contacts, 38.6% Injecting drug use, 11.3 % MSM, 1.3% mother to child transmission, 0.5% blood transfusion, 0.7% undetermined.
Challenges to controlling the HIV epidemic includes severe stigma and negative attitude of Georgia Orthodox Church surrounding men having sex with men (MSM), and limited access to affordable condoms and HIV testing. Restrictive drug policy and lack of legal base for harm reduction activities is one of the barriers for smooth implementation of HIV program.
There are two major funding sources to implement HIV national response in Georgia: Government of Georgia, and the Global Fund.
Georgia Government is also incrementally increasing funds to cover the cost of life-saving ARV treatment. Currently 75% of ARVs are supported by Government and 25% – GF. In July 2019 Government of Georgia launched integrated screening on HIV/HCV/TB at primary Health care facilities. The program considers improving early detection of HIV/HCV/TB and linkage to the treatment services by creating one stop service for the patients as an integral part of primary health care setting.
Prevention activities among KAP are partially supported by Government. However, it is vital to continue as recent Bio-Behavioral Surveillance study results show high prevalence in KAP especially among MSM.
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