The First National Conference on the Problems of PLWH and KAPs is held in Armenia

In Armenia, with the support of the ECUO, “The First National Conference on the Problems of PLWH and KAPs” opened.

Live broadcast of the event: https://bit.ly/2IwVPrp

The conference is organized by the #Partnership Consortium, the association of non-governmental organizations of Armenia: “Real World, Real People”, “PINK Armenia”, “Potential of Awakening”.

Оганнес Мадоян
Оганнес Мадоян

Hovhannes Madoyan, Chairman of the Coalition for Equality and Against Discrimination, noted in his welcoming speech that solving problems in the context of HIV/AIDS is a common task for joint work and cooperation of the state, non-governmental organizations and civil society. There are a number of achievements in this field in Armenia: a system of prevention, testing and treatment has been established on the basis of the National HIV/AIDS Center, but there are a number of important issues yet to be solved.

Hasmik Harutyunyan, Program Manager at the Ministry of Health of Armenia, noted that over 7 years of coordination of the Global Fund programs, much has been done to improve the health system. She expressed the support and interest of the state in establishing even closer and more productive cooperation on behalf of the Minister of Health. “90-90-90 Goals are very ambitious for our country, but we are making every effort to achieve them by 2020. Currently, there is a positive trend towards an increase in government funding for HIV programs, and we will be able to sustain them against the backdrop of declining donor support”. Ms. Harutyunyan told that she, as the representative of the Ministry of Health, is absolutely open open to discussing the pressing issues that she promised to bring to the attention to the Ministry of Health to coordinate further work.

More than 50 participants gathered at the education and resource hub of the National HIV/AIDS Center to hold discussions on approaches and methods to combat stigma and discrimination, advocate human rights and the necessary actions to create a sustainable transition to the state platform for supporting HIV/AIDS programs social and public field.

The conference is attended by representatives of the ECUO PLWH: Daniil Kashnitskyi, Program Consultant, Aleksandra Yatsura, M&E specialist, and Inna Gavrilova, editor of the Minus Virus platform.

Женя Майилян
Женя Майилян

Zhenya Mayilyan noted that the key barriers and issues in access to treatment in the country are the following: discrimination in medical facilities, the lack of anti-discrimination legislation and its inadequacy to protect the rights of people, extremely low level of awareness among KAPs about the rights and treatment options, quality of available drugs and concentration of opportunities for access to treatment in Yerevan with a certain limited access in the regions, criminalization of HIV and sex work.

“Today we want to discuss the existing stigma and discrimination of PLWH and representatives of key populations, to share and discuss the results of the research conducted by our Partnership consortium with colleagues, partners and stakeholders”, said Nvard Margaryan, President of PINK Armenia. – “We are convinced that reducing stigma and discrimination will lead to an improvement in the public health system in Armenia. The slogan of one of the regional campaigns “Pursue the virus, not people!” is consonant with the fundamental message of the conference, that is, to focus of fighting the virus”.

Representatives of the Ministry of Health, AIDS Center, international organizations from Ukraine, Russia will speak at the conference.

The event is supported by the National HIV/AIDS Center and international partners.

As of September 1, 2018, the estimated number of PLWH in Armenia is 3,400 people, among them 69% receive ART, the heterosexual transmission of HIV prevails, accounting for 78% of cases. In 2017, Armenia announced the implementation of the “Treat Everybody.Test & Treat” strategy.