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Hepatitis C Among Injecting Drug Users in the New EU Member States and Neighboring Countries: Situation, Guidelines and Recommendations

To assess the situation with IDU access to HCV treatment in the region, the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network (CEEHRN) carried out a survey in 13 countries of the European Union (EU) and the neighboring countries, looking at the availability of HCV prevention, treatment, care and support for IDUs.  The findings show that in most countries access to HCV care for injecting drug users remains limited. Stigmatization of drug use means that those with the greatest need for HCV support, treatment and care are often denied these lifesaving services. The current level of policy and advocacy efforts is not sufficient to achieve progress, meaning that more needs to be done in order to raise the profile of the issue with the policymakers. The report provides guidelines and recommendations for further action.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) presents an important public health problem globally and particularly in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. The infection spreads rapidly among injecting drug users (IDUs) due to its high infectivity. Availability of HCV prevention, treatment, care and support for IDUs is often not satisfactory. The key finding of the fact sheet, based on a survey in 13 countries of the European Union (EU) and neighboring countries, is that in most countries HCV among IDUs is a neglected problem.

Working with vulnerable populations—injecting drug users (IDU’s), sex workers, people living with HIV, men who have sex with men, and prisoners—is associated with high levels of stress and burnout. This is particularly so for those working on the “frontlines”—harm reduction service providers, medical staff, social workers. This manual explores best practices in burnout prevention and management based on the experience of harm reduction projects in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The manual also includes a training module, strategies for stress management, as well as a suggested reading list.

In Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia sex workers remain among the most marginalized members of society.  At the same time, the surging HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region places sex workers at increasingly greater risk of infection not only from HIV, but also from other potentially debilitating conditions related to sex work and drug use. This report provides an overview of these and other important issues that sex workers face in the region as well as of the political, economic, and social factors that influence policies and attitudes toward sex workers. It focuses primarily on the existing laws and policies and their consequences from the perspective of HIV prevention and treatment. The report also offers recommendations designed to uphold sex workers’ rights and remove barriers that reduce their ability or willingness to access health care and other social services.

For several years UNAIDS has been reporting that HIV is spreading faster in Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States than in any other part of the world. In 1995 Lithuania was the first former Soviet State to introduce HIV/AIDS prevention measures among injecting drug users (IDUs) by adopting well-proven practices of Western, Central and South-Eastern European countries. The intention of this publication is to share the experience gained in the field of HIV prevention among IDUs and to provide the information about the lessons learned and successes achieved.

Injecting Drug Users, HIV/AIDS Treatment and Primary Care in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

A survey of 132 organizations in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union assessed the accessibility of HIV medications, basic health care and substitution treatment for injecting drug users (IDUs) in the region. Organizations surveyed include harm reduction programs acting to reduce the negative effects of drug use or to suppport such efforts and representatives of governmental HIV/AIDS programs. Report provides recommendations for further action.

Based on global and regional estimates for violence against women, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified no fewer than 16 programmatic opportunities to address violence against women in the context of HIV. Building on that work, this advocacy brief provides key messages to inspire actions that respond to the needs and rights of women. 

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