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SWAN members marked the World AIDS Day

Every year on 1st of December the world marks World AIDS Day. This year, SWAN together with ICRSE issued a joint statement and SWAN members marked the day with various different events.

Red Umbrella Athens reminded that the crimes committed by the Greek government in 2012 have not been forgotten. Beginning in April 2012, Greek police arrested and conducted forced STD-testing of sex workers, raiding places frequented by sex workers who use drugs, more than 20 sex workers who were found HIV positive were put into prison. At the time the behaviour was strongly condemned by international human rights organisations, as well as Red Umbrella Fund and NSWP. This World AIDS Day, Red Umbrella Athens published an article about their work, talking about the important work the organisation does for HIV prevention among sex workers. "World AIDS Day is an opportunity for sex workers to demand equality, dignity and respect as well as equal access to HIV prevention, treatment and treatment services "- says Maria Xanthaki from RUA in the article.

SZEXE from Hungary attended the public event organized by Civil AIDS Forum. They were offering 2 kinds of free HIV testing and counselling.

Ameliya from Kazakhstan has published a video encouraging sex workers in the Middle and Central Asia to unite, create the initiative group and to join forces in the struggle against HIV. “It has been enough of violence. Know your rights!”- says a sex worker in the video.

STAR-STAR and HOPS, Macedonia organised a charity event to support people living with HIV in the country. The funds collected during the World AIDS Day event will contribute to maintain the regular services of the Association Zaedno Posilni, supporting people with HIV with travel expenses for regular therapy and regular health checking (in Skopje), modest monthly support in basic food and hygiene products, as well as urgent health needs. STAR-STAR have also issued a statement, and HOPS shared the information on the most recent statistics around HIV epidemic in Macedonia and the additional risk of exposure to HIV faced by people who use drugs.

Juventas from Montenegro together with the state representatives shared the video explaining the importance of support from the Global Fund, and the importance of the cooperation between the state and NGOs. "However, since 2015, when the Global Fund ceased to fund the work of NGOs providing prevention services to people at increased risk of HIV, there has been a sharp jump in the number of newly-infected cases. We had an alarming situation in 2015, especially last year, " said Ivana Vujovic from Juventas. "This year, the Ministry of Health has allocated 100,000 euros and made a plan in cooperation with the Global Fund that the work of NGOs will be supported in a fair amount for the next three and a half years. Now responsibility for preventive services is shared between state and non-governmental organisations”, she concluded.

ARAS, Romania, have issued a press release, highlighting the main problems and obstacles in the fight against HIV. “The solution is simple and, with the goodwill of governments, can be implemented: prevention-screening-treatment. States that have understood this are about to succeed: they are strong where governments allocate resources (people and money) to enable universal access to information, screening and treatment. We believe that if there is political will (here we talk about health policies), there is a chance to live!”

Carusel, Romania, have prepared the kits with condoms and small cards with red ribbons. Those kits were available free of charge at 4 bars in Bucharest. The cards contained the info about red ribbon and World AIDS Day. Also, a community dinner for people living with HIV/ AIDS (clients of Carusel programs) was organised.

New Life from Yekaterinburg, Russia, have participated in a serie of events. The leader of New Life, Vera Kovalenko, attended the TV programme where she was talking about discordant couples. Vera also took part at the press-conference in Yekaterinburg about the evaluation of treatment and prevention of HIV by activists of NGOs.


 

Steps Fund from Moscow, Russia, together with the team from M.A.C Cosmetics held the event at the shopping centre. Steps initiated the flashmob #МифыВИЧ (#MythsHIV) on facebook. Steps staff also went to the nightclub and to the to the office of Johnson&Johnson to hold the event there, providing free HIV testing and counseling.

Silver Rose from St Petersburg, Russia, explained their work and the situation with HIV in Russia for the Canadian TV.


 

The Association Prevent from Serbia took part at the conference "National Conference on Innovative Services in the Community for People Living with HIV and AIDS" in Belgrade.They also took part at the “Positive concert”, where they distributed the information leaflets.

In Kiev and Odessa, Ukraine, Legalife Ukraine representatives have joined the World AIDS Day events and were talking to journalists and passers-by, explaining how to live with HIV, why the testing is important, etc. All Ukrainian League Legalife have also attended this event. Together with the other NGOs they have organized the meeting with the students.

On 1st of December 2017 HPLGBT from Ukraine, together with other NGOs, announced the start of the new project “Safety first” aimed at meeting the needs for public health and human rights among male and transgender sex workers.


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