The Belarus experience of preventive maintenance of a HIV/AIDS and STI among MSM
Issues: The officially registered number of HIV cases in Belarus as of January 1, 2008 is 8737 of which 30 have become infected with HIV/AIDS through homosexual relations. Belarus is one of the countries where HIV/AIDS among men having sex with men is not widely spread. A large role in that has been played by the Belarusian NGO "Vstrecha".
Description and Lessons learned : Since 1998 the NGO "Vstrecha" has been carrying out its work on prophylaxis of HIV/AIDS and STI among men having sex with men (MSM) in Belarus. Today the NGO "Vstrecha" is an organization realizing the element No. 2 "Preventive maintenance of HIV/AIDS and STI among men having sex with men" of the project "Preventive maintenance and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Belarus". This project is financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.During three years of realization of the project, 13,118 MSM have been consulted by specially trained outreach workers from amidst MSM. 42 outreach workers, 7 psychologists and 7 dermatovenerologists have undergone training for organization of consultations in the framework of the project. Consultation centers have been set up in Minsk, 6 oblast (regional) cities and in the city of Svetlogorsk. “Friendly” doctor’s consulting rooms started operating in Minsk, 6 regional cities and in the city of Svetlogorsk. 1127 MSM have undergone free-of-charge anonymous HIV/AIDS and STI testing, 375 MSM having STI have undergone free anonymous treatment. At present, the NGO "Vstrecha" in its work on prophylaxis of HIV/AIDS and STI focuses its special attention to the organization of consultations in the Internet: chat rooms, website www.vstrecha.by, e-mail.
Next steps: Significant attention is paid to the work with MSM living with HIV. A joint project involving the EHRN aimed at the attraction of MSM living with HIV to holding consultations will be launched from March 2008.