As leaders of the HIV response gather in New York on June 8-10 for the 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, civil society networks of the EECA region prepared the “East Europe & Central Asia: Let’s not lose track” report to draw attention to the catastrophic situation in our region and solutions that would enable us to catch up to the rest of the world on the track to move towards ending AIDS and achieving Strategic Development Goals by 2030.
The position document clearly demonstrates the fact that as the whole world registers the decrease in the rates of HIV spreading and deaths due to AIDS, the situation in East Europe & Central Asia still stays grave:
- EECA is the only region that failed to achieve MDG6 on HIV;
- 70% of PLHIV live in high-income countries;
- 1 in 5 HIV-positive people live below the national poverty line;
- only 20% of PLHIV are on ARV treatment.
“Already in 2010 at XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna we drew attention of the world society to the regrettable situation with HIV/AIDS epidemic in our region by means of the ‘We are dying less, but we are dying faster!’ informational campaign”, states Mr. Vladimir Zhovtyak, the ECUO President. “It’s been six years since then and the situation is still the same. Only within the last year the number of new cases of HIV infection increased by 57%, within the last 15 years we witness that the rate of deaths due to AIDS increased three times and that is, unfortunately, quite an expected outcome of 20% coverage with the vital ARV treatment which not only extends people’s life span and improves its quality, but also prevents the virus from spreading on!”
The appeal of the communities “East Europe & Central Asia: Let’s not lose track” brings up issues of the HIV/AIDS programs transition to domestic funding, and in particular – the transition of the programs for key affected populations, and emphasizes the crucial importance of prevention services and linkage to prevention, testing, treatment and care without which it is impossible to reach 90-90-90 UNAIDS goal in the EECA region. The issue of the need in decreasing the prices for medicines and reforming the healthcare system and funding in order to ensure the smooth transition to the targeted care provision is stated as of the crucial importance in the report.
A particular attention in the Position of the EECA communities is drawn to the recommendations which can advantageously contribute to the stabilization of the HIV epidemic in the region:
- Governments must acknowledge the HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C burden borne by key populations and ensure that 90% of key populations are reached with targeted low threshold programming including prevention, testing and linkage to treatment and care.
- Donors including The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), bilateral donors and others must adapt eligibility criteria that do not neglect inequitable access to services within middle and high income countries.
- Governments should utilize transparent, flexible and innovative approaches in the procurement of ARV medicines to ensure lowest possible prices for effective medicines including encouraging generic competition and application of TRIPS flexibilities and to ensure sustainable access to HIV quality treatment.
Any further information and the full list of recommendations can be found in the full version of the Position of communities HERE.
Printed copies of the Position of communities “East Europe & Central Asia: Let’s not lose track” will be distributed at the High-Level Meeting on AIDS within the UN General Assembly. The electronic version of the document will be available on websites of the civil society networks and submitted to GFATM, European Commission, UN Agencies, CCMs of the EECA region and to other stakeholders.
This report was developed in collaboration with Shona Schonning (Independent Consultant on Public Health) and Danielle Parsons (Independent Consultant) by the initiative of East Europe & Central Asia Union of People Living with HIV, the design and printing were provided by Eurasian Coalition on Male Health, the translation into Russian and editing was done by Alliance on Public Health.
The following regional networks contributed to the development of this document:
- East Europe & Central Asia Union of People Living with HIV (ECUO);
- Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM);
- Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN);
- Eurasian Network of People Using Drugs (ENPUD);
- Eurasian Women’s Network of AIDS (EWNA);
- European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG);
- International Treatment Preparedness Coalition in East Europe & Central Asia (ITPCru);
- Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN).