Expansion and improvement of HIV prevention services in Uzbekistan
In 2021, AFEW International, in partnership with a local partner NGO “ISHONCH VA HAYOT” (a community based membership NGO uniting key populations), launched a 2-year project “Expansion and improvement of HIV services in Uzbekistan”.
The activities will take place in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent city, which has a high concentration of key populations (KPs) vulnerable to HIV infection. The project will address existing gap in the access of KPs to testing and relevant HIV services, and contribute significantly to the Paris Declaration commitments made by Tashkent City. Through the rapid HIV testing system developed by the community and the subsequent social follow-up of clients to the health facility, clients will be linked to ARV treatment in a timely manner.
The project also focuses on the development of a key partner NGO ISHONCH VA HAYOT through a thoroughly planned capacity building program, based on the assessment of the organizational needs.
Among the main project activities are:
- Training of the outreach workers on assisted self-testing and HIV prevention information;
- Establishment of a monitoring system to evaluate the quality of outreach workers and peer educators.
- Strengthening of the interaction with AIDS Centre nurses to improve treatment adherence.
- Organising assisted self-testing for key populations in Tashkent city and connecting identified HIV-positive people with the AIDS Centre.
- AIDS Center and Outreach workers collaboration on returning lost to treatment patients (those who were earlier tested positive and registered with the AIDS Center but did not return to checkup and ART).
- Establishment of a pilot Social Support Centre for KP to provide psycho-social and legal support and ensure adherence to ART among KP.
The first training session for outreach workers “Introducing assisted self-testing for HIV among KP” took place on September 28-30, 2021 in Tashkent. The training on rapid test system use and client/case management/monitoring ensures that the outreach workers are equipped to provide quality consultation on testing and HIV to the KPs and refer those KP representatives tested HIV-positive to the AIDS Center and related programs, and that information on the KPs is collected accurately and safely.
AFEW International thanks the Republican AIDS Centre of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Tashkent AIDS Centre, the Interagency Expert Council for close cooperation and coordination with international and foreign organisations in the field of HIV, TB and malaria response and the attraction of donor funding for activities, the IEC Secretariat, UNAIDS in Uzbekistan for supporting the pilot project concept in Tashkent during the preparation and implementation phase.
The project is financially supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.