All-Russian Union of People Living with HIV
09 July 2009
The official registration of the All-Russian Union of People Living with HIV has become a major breakthrough in the national response to AIDS in the Russian Federation. The All-Russian Union was officially registered in May 2009 and had its first conference in June 2009 under the theme “All –Russian Union of People Living with HIV: Actual Issues of Development”.
The organization has gone a long way from the first meeting in 1998 when a few people living with HIV and representatives of different public organizations gathered together and realized the need to join their efforts for a more effective work in the AIDS response. It was not an easy process to work out the mission and agree on the principles of joint work and organizational structure. Discussions, debates, fights, and reconciliations were happening parallel to real day to day work in different NGOs active in the AIDS response.
Now, the organization unites people from 50 regions of Russia. It’s based on a district principle which ensures democracy and representation in the framework of the network and consolidation of participants’ efforts.
“Our organizational mission is this: we, people living with HIV join our potential and efforts to improve the quality of life of every person affected by HIV in Russia, says Vladimir Mayanovsky, the Chairman of Coordination Council of All-Russian Union of People Living with HIV. Our organization provides an excellent opportunity to improve the involvement of people living with HIV in the national AIDS response and contribute to fight HIV at federal and regional level. We are qualified and equipped with different knowledge and skills to become the real leaders in the civil society’s response to the epidemic”.
Members of All Russian Union of People Living with HIV are active in providing prevention programmes, self support groups, palliative care, organizing special advocacy events and working with most at risk population groups. The members are divided in subcommittees which focus on different thematic areas. These subcommittees provide consultation services to thousands of people living with HIV in Russia.
The All- Russian Union of People Living with HIV has strong leadership, transparent structure, partners in government and civil society. The organization has a huge potential. We consider it as one of our leading partners in civil society in strengthening HIV responses at national level.
Dr. Marina Semenchenko,
UNAIDS Team Leader a.i. in Russia
Members of the Union also advocate to addressing urgent issues such as the lack of confidentiality for children living with HIV in primary school care and medical institutions or the law that does not allow people living with HIV to adopt children. Members of All –Russian Union of People Living with HIV cooperate with penitentiary system and provide social support to people released from prisons.
Local branches of the Union have also initiated new projects in their areas. For example, one branch in Dagestan introduced a special educational course on HIV prevention at Dagestan Social University which is being implemented by one of the members of the Union. The branch in Volgograd opened a hotline that provides quality information on AIDS issues. The branch in Khanty-Mansiysk federal region, which is one of the regions most affected by HIV in Russia, provides assistance in accessing antiretroviral treatment to those in need. In Siberia another union member initiated HIV testing in remote areas by inviting medical professionals from regional AIDS Centers to go there.
Dr.Larisa Dementyeva, a representative from the Department on HIV/AIDS of the Russian Federal Service of Surveillance Over Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being welcomed the All-Russian conference of People Living with HIV in Russia.
“Members of All Russian Union People Living with HIV are knowledgeable and enthusiastic young people, said Dr. Dementyeva. We consider the Union as our partner in meeting the needs of people living with HIV. The Union plays a very significant role in raising awareness about HIV prevention, reducing stigma and promoting tolerance.”
More than 200 participants from 54 regions of Russia discussed the strategic development of the All- Russian Union of People Living with HIV for the next two years and adopted the resolution of the meeting.
“The All- Russian Union of People Living with HIV has strong leadership, transparent structure, partners in government and civil society. The organization has a huge potential. We consider it as one of our leading partners in civil society in strengthening HIV responses at national level”, said Dr. Marina Semenchenko, UNAIDS Team Leader a.i. in Russia.