For the first time in Estonia an NGO and a state institution sign a cooperation agreement

The advocacy which proved its efficiency: Estonian Network of People Living with HIV, the member of the Estonian Consortium of Communities (EHPV, VEK LGBT, LUNEST), and the National Institute for Health Development have signed an agreement on October 27 on testing and referral to treatment program.

Лачин Алиев
Лачин Алиев

Within the framework of the cooperation, a structure for counseling HIV-positive people and their friends and relatives was established in the northeastern Estonia (Jõhvi, Narva) within the framework of the testing program; meanwhile, self-testing for HIV in Tallinn will be organized for MSM and LGBT.
It’s worth mentioning that in 2009, in response to the challenge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Estonian Network for PLWH (EHPV) made a strategic decision to join efforts with all stakeholders in promoting the rapid HIV testing model. The main purpose of this activity was to increase access to HIV testing for all MARPs in the country. Thus, with the introduction of rapid testing and treatment-related techniques, EHPV applied a testing model from 2009 to 2016 based on the effective interaction of professionals: health professionals, peer counselors, case managers and psychologists.
“During this time, we have held numerous campaigns and events in the mass gathering places: night clubs for MSM, shopping malls, fairs, thematic events all over Estonia in the framework of the World AIDS Day and the World Day for the Remembrance of AIDS, in educational institutions, within the framework of the Days of Health, at the syringe exchange points using the “snowball” method (e.g., the program for attracting of injecting drug users, homeless people, persons engaged in the sex work to the rapid testing).
We used to invite and continue and invite everyone to get tested for HIV, become aware of their HIV status and start treatment on time, if necessary. Rapid testing for HIV takes only a few minutes. Blood sample is taken from your finger. People obtaining a positive result will be able to immediately sign up for a specialist doctor appointment right on the site with the help of treatment referral managers. The key added value of rapid HIV testing is the acceleration of early diagnostics and initiation of ARV treatment”, said Lachin Aliyev, Director of the Estonian Network for PLWH and the representative of the ECUO PLWH in the country.
We should also point out that the current legislation and the type of tests used in Estonia do not permit testing by non-medical staff, which creates a certain barrier to access to treatment. Therefore, the next challenge for the team of the Estonian Network of PLWH will be to advocate for the change of legislation and purchase of test systems in Estonia that will allow testing by non-medical staff.
Recently a working meeting was held between the Estonian Consortium team and the Vice Chancellor of Estonia Maris Jesse (Tervisevaldkond terviseala asekantsler), discussing the possibility of the governmental contracting implementation.