A working meeting of the regional networks of communities and civil society organizations working in the field of HIV/AIDS was held in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region for the first time. Regional meeting «Strengthening coordination and advocacy of regional unions and networks of key populations to achieve the „90-90-90“ targets in Eastern Europe and Central Asia » was held on the 22th−23th of May in Yerevan, Armenia, and was initiated by the East Europe and Central Asian Union of PLWH (ECUO), being jointly supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The East Europe and Central Asian Union of PLWH (ECUO), Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN), Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM), Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA), Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD), International Treatment Preparedness Coalition of East Europe and Central Asia (ITPC.ru), the Regional HIV Legal Network, Regional Technical Support Hub for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, TB Europe Coalition took part in the regional meeting. Also the representatives of UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, UNFPA and UNAIDS attended the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen regional cooperation and advocacy to achieve the ambitious goals of treatment, contributing to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic — «90-90-90.»
During the meeting a joint regional advocacy agenda and the Roadmap for 5 years were developed. More detailed results of the meeting will be available on the website of ECUO after the publication of the report.
At the meeting the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation between 8 regional civil society networks was formally signed (text of Memorandum is attached). The idea of signing the Memorandum occurred in November, 2014, and at the same time it was approved. The meeting was one of the steps towards the successful implementation of the basic ideas of this document.
Objectives of cooperation in the framework of the Memorandum:
- Facilitate changes in legal framework in the countries of the region with the purpose of introduction of the continuum of services which include HIV prevention, testing and treatment and HIV-related TB and Hepatitis C.
- Facilitate increase of state funding for provision of sustainable continuum of HIV-related services and their rational use.
- Improve access to legal assistance in the countries of the region and facilitate rights observance of people affected by HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Also the Memorandum provides potential areas of interaction among the regional networks, such us, cooperation on expanding access to prevention and treatment, overcoming legal, administrative and other systemic barriers for access of the key groups to HIV treatment, advocacy of issues ensuring provision of continuum of services for HIV prevention, testing and treatment and HIV-related TB/Hepatitis C co-infections in EECA region.
The first joint action of regional networks of communities after the meeting was the Appeal to the European Office of WHO concerning the involvement of a representative from the EECA region to the Guideline Development Group for the 2015 update of the WHO ARV guidelines.