Today, Alexander Tishanin, Governor of the Irkutsk Oblast, visited the Crossing of Seven Roads Rehabilitation Centre in Angarsk where he announced the intention to develop a network of rehabilitation centres for drug addicts.

The Crossing of Seven Roads Rehabilitation Centre is a non-commercial organisation involved in harm reduction programs funded by the Russian Health Care Foundation under the Global Funds 4th Round Program.

During the visit, the Governor was informed about the key activities of the Centre and residing conditions for its patients. He also had a meeting with the staff and inmates of the Centre which included a presentation to describe on-going projects of the Rehabilitation Centre and discussions of needs for support from the Oblast Administration.

Pavel Tsikolin, Coordinator from the Rehabilitation Centre, told the guests that Crossing of Seven Roads Self-Standing Non-Commercial organisation had been established eight years ago, with costs of its establishment funded by sponsors. In 2006, it received grants from the Russian Health Care Foundation to implement projects of harm reduction among injection drug users.

The Centre practices an integrated approach to rehabilitation of patients with chemical addiction, involving various specialists, psychologists, physicians, psychotherapists and recovering peer counsellors. The Centre has already provided its services to over 800 drug addicts, including 240 persons who got cured without setbacks and 260 patients who returned to the Centre after their failures to live without drugs, and have sustained remission thereupon.

Moreover, during treatment, patients have an opportunity to go through vocational training within the Centre to acquire skills for future work. There is a motor-car repair workshop and a mini-printing office in the Centre.

Currently, the Rehabilitation Centre provides treatment to 42 patients. During the visit, a patient from Ust-Ilimsk told the Governor that the spread of drug use was a very acute problem for his city. He said that drugs were supplied from Bratsk and might be purchased quite easily. The young man also said that he had been a drug user since the age of 12 and had spent Rbl. 9 million to buy drugs. He was brought to the Rehabilitation Centre by his elder brother.

The Centres staff turned to the Governor with the request to help them with the acquisition of premises and a parcel of land for agricultural operations to be undertaken its patients. The Governor promised to help them.

The experience gained by this Centre undoubtedly deserves attention and calls for future support from the Oblast Administration. The Centres integrated approach to treatment and the experience of other organizations involved in harm reduction programs will be used as a framework for future developments. The Oblast Administration is undertaking to establish a network of similar rehabilitation centres for drug addicts in the Irkutsk Oblast, concluded Alexander Tishanin.

Governor Tishanin took part in the Time to Live Tele-Marathon hosted by V. Pozner, and it was during this Tele-Maraton that he met specialists from the Crossing of Seven Roads Centre, and decided to visit it to see with his own eyes that its implemented programs did help.


On December 5 6, 2006, a meeting was held in Suzdal to evaluate the progress of the HIV/AIDS and hepatites B and C control components under the National Priority Health Project.

The meeting included a presentation made by G.G. Onishchenko, Chief of the Federal Oversight Service for Consumers Rights Protection and Human Welfare. He reported the 2006 results of the National Priority Health Project and outlined key objectives of the work to counteract the spread of HIV-infection in 2007.

D.A. Goliaev, Director, Global Funds AIDS and TB control project (the 4th round), presented an extensive project progress report, including project performance during its first year, identified problems and prospects for 2007.

D.A. Goliaev emphasized that in addition to the drugs supplied under the National Health Project (its AIDS control component), the regions would receive drugs under the Global Funds Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation (the 4th round) implemented by the Russian Health Care Foundation. Now, the key objective is to ensure universal access to antiretroviral drugs for all those who need them.

On the eve of the meeting, D.A. Goliaev and V.V. Pokrovsky, Director, Federal AIDS Centre, Academician, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, held a working meeting with the Chief Physicians of the regional AIDS Centres from the participating regions of project years 1 and 2 (the Kaliningrad Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, Krasnodar Kray, Volgograd Oblast, Saratov Oblast, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Altai Kray, Irkutsk Oblast, Rostov Oblast, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Perm Kray, Kemerovo Oblast, Bashkortostan, St-Petersburg, and the Samara Oblast) to explain to them how to work with the recording and reporting system for the drugs supplied under the Global Funds projects.


The Russian Health Care Foundation and the Rostov Oblast Administration signed an Agreement for the oblast participation in the Programme Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Under the Agreement, the Programme will supply the oblast with antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS patients, laboratory equipment and test-systems. It will also support prevention activities and outreach services for the most vulnerable groups (injection drug users, commercial sex workers and men having sex with men), trainings in HIV/AIDS treatment, as well as care and support for HIV-infected people and other activities.

Upon signing the Agreement, E.V. Beketova, Chief Physician of the Rostov AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre, her Deputy in charge of medical care, and the Manager of the Centres Methodological Department visited the Saratov AIDS Centre to learn about its experience of participating in the Programme Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation. L.P. Potemina, Chief Physician of the Saratov AIDS Centre, informed the colleagues about successful implementation of the Global Fund Programme in the Saratov Oblast.


On November 18, 2006 (8.25 p.m.), the Premier TV channel broadcasted the Time to Live Talk-Show from Kaliningrad. The programme was hosted by Vladimir Pozner.
It touched upon the most sensitive issues related to HIV growth counteraction and provision of care to HIV-infected people in the Kaliningrad Oblast. It is noteworthy that Kaliningrad is one of the few cities in the Russian Federation where HIV-infected people and their relatives refused to appear on TV without hiding their faces to talk about their problems. It testifies to high prevalence of HIV stigma and lack of tolerance among the population in the Kaliningrad Oblast. It is difficult to implement prevention activities both among the high-risk groups and among young people. In 2007, the regional AIDS and Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Centre was merged with the Oblast Communicable Disease Hospital which may also have an adverse impact on provision of health care to PLH.


Tender advertisement: a tender is held to select providers of training in HIV vertical transmission prevention for infectious disease specialists, obstetricians/gynaecologists, and personnel of maternity homes and women consultation centers in the participating regions of programme year 2.

Interested organisations are invited to submit their proposals.


On Wednesday, November 8 (11:00 a.m.) the Central Journalist House hosted a press-conference with Vadim Pokrovsky, Director, Federal AIDS Centre, Academician, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. The motto of this event was Drugs to Treat AIDS Are Available Now!

In October, 2006, regional AIDS Centres at last - started to receive drugs needed to prevent AIDS development in HIV-infected Russian patients. The drugs and required equipment are supplied under three major programmes: the National Priority Health Project, the TB and AIDS Control Project financed from the World Bank loan, and the Programme financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria on a grant basis.

These three programmes allocate sufficient amounts of money to procure diagnostic equipment and reagents as well as drugs for HIV/AIDS patients and for HIV transmission prevention among children of HIV-positive mothers. However, there are multiple hurdles on the way to answering AIDS-posed challenges in Russia. And it was the question of how to overcome these hurdles which was in the centre of the press-conference with Pr. V.V. Pokrovsky.
During the press-conference, journalists questions were also answered by D.A. Goliaev, Global Fund Project Director.

[Journalists] (184 kb)
[VIDEO] (2701 kb)


On November 1 2, 2006, a federal health team visited the Leningrad Oblast to render assistance in putting in place implementation arrangements for HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment activities under the National Priority Health Project and their coordination with activities under the Global Fund Programme Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation. The team consisted of:
A.T. Goliusov, Manager, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Department, Federal Oversight Service for Consumers Rights Protection and Human Welfare;
M.A. Grigorieva, Manager, Public Procurement Department for Drugs, Medtekhsnab RO (Federal Unitary Enterprise);
E.V. Buravtsova, Manager, Clinical and Diagnostic Department, Federal AIDS Centre;
Yu.B. Brodskaya, Global Fund Programme Coordinator, Russian Health Care Foundation.

Currently, various clinical facilities provide antiretroviral therapy to about 150 patients from the Leningrad Oblast. The drugs were supplied to the region in the amount sufficient to treat 600 patients. However, access to laboratory services for diagnosis and treatment is still a big problem. An agreement was reached with the Republican Clinical Hospital that it would provide needed laboratory services and ARV therapy for all children, pregnant women and severe HIV cases, and also undertake viral load tests for 4,000 patients and immune status tests for 2,500 patients, prior to establishing a full-fledged laboratory under the regional AIDS Centre. In addition, the Leningrad Oblast authorities found a possibility to increase the payroll of the Leningrad Oblast AIDS Centre to enable it to hire needed personnel.


The Advisory Council of the Russian Health Care Foundation approved the results of the open tender to select recipients of grant funds earmarked to establish Information Centres in the Russian Federation under the Global Fund Programme Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations, and the grants were awarded the following organizations:
Lot # 1 - ANTI-AIDS-Siberia (Barnaul)
Lot # 2 AIDS INFOSHARE (Moscow)
Lot # 3 AIDS INFOSHARE (Moscow)
Lot # 4 Take Care of Yourself (a Charity Foundation, Chelyabinsk)
Lot # 5 Irkutsk Red Cross
Lot # 6 Humanitarian Project (Novosibirsk)
Lot # 7 Coming Back (St-Petersburg)


This week, Vladimir Pozner visited Irkutsk. The popular TV journalist hosted the Time to Live Tele-Marathon meant to discuss the problem of the HIV growth in Russia. Since the first talk-show of this kind (1.5 years ago), similar programmes have has been regularly broadcast from various cities. On Friday, Irkutsk which has the second heaviest HIV burden after St-Petersburg, communicated with Krasnouarsk through a Tele-Bridge though it was not a real-time broadcast it was shot on a videotape to appear on TV on Saturday. The studio of the Musical Theatre accommodated politicians, health workers, civil society representatives, and journalists. A sincere talk, disputes, confessions and even reproaches all these were there.

Pavel Tsikolin, specialist from the Crossing of Seven Roads Centre: Most of those present here, do not regard these people as people. They are part of our society. We are talking a lot as officials, but you are quite right to say that there is a need to assess to what extent I am ready to hug, kiss and accept this person.
Vladimir Pozner, Time to Live Tele-Marathon host: First of all, we have managed to reveal the principal problem. It is not the HIV but the attitude to this disease in the Irkutsk Oblast. The officials are obviously not willing to recognize the existence of the problem with its graveness and inadequacy of the steps to address it. They prefer to keep saying that everything is all right and will be even better.

Boris Tsvetkov, Chief Physician, Regional AIDS Centre: The issue with premises for the Centre has been resolved: a building was made available to accommodate it with the decision made to renovate and retrofit the building appropriately and to construct another floor within the next two years. By the World AIDS Day, we shall receive patients in adequate settings.
Vladimir Pozner: It is clear that in Krasnoyarsk, people are much more active, understanding and positive compared to Irkutsk. And it is only natural: Krasnoyarsk has results whereas Irkutsk only talks.

Alexander Beklemishev, Director, Irkutsk Office of the Federal Service for Drug Trafficking Control: Today, we all the law enforcement bodies have embarked on this problem and it is being addressed.

Vladimir Pozner: Excuse me for interrupting you, but we are fed up with phrases like maybe, the problem is attended to; maybe, the situation is changing. We would prefer to learn what specifically was done, and what has come out of it. I have a feeling that there is only some general talk here. I was very much upset with the words of certain officials which resemble (I apologize for this rough expression) Soviet-time mumbling. Everything is addressed, there is some progress, of course, there are problems, but overall, it is all right. This demonstrates full unawareness of the problem, while Irkutsk is severely hit by this problem.

Viktoria Dvornichenko, Chief Physician, Regional Cancer Centre: The situation in Irkutsk is not that bad. The Federal Programme has been on-going and financed for 7 years. I do not understand why all of us are so aggressively criticising the AIDS Centre it is operating properly.
Boris Tsvetkov, Chief Physician, Regional AIDS Centre, turning to Aleksey: You should have come to the AIDS Centre instead of waiting for the Tele-Marathon. It is our obligation to render help related to legal and other aspects. Not only you, but all the others, please, come to us, we shall help.

Aleksey, specialist from the Crossing of Seven Roads Centre, a HIV-infected person: I would not go to you. Do not get offended, but there are other organisations which are more proficient in this area.

Pavel Tsikolin, specialist from the Crossing of Seven Roads Centre: My friends are watching this programme, and among them there are HIV-infected women who delivered their babies in the same maternity homes where healthy women stayed, but they were treated differently, e.g. a HIV-infected girl was forbidden to leave her ward or touch certain things.
Irina Ezhova, Chief Physician, City Perinatal Centre: This is not true.
Vladimir Pozner: Do you mean to say that he is lying?
Irina Ezhova: I am insisting that there are no such things as: do not walk, do not eat, do not drink, do not wipe.
Vladimir Pozner: Has he invented it?
Irina Ezhova: I think so. I am responding to you this is not true!
Vladimir Pozner: But when a serious person is insisting that no one is exposed to discrimination, and this person represents the authorities, I have a creepy feeling. Discrimination exists everywhere in the USA, in France.
Alexander Tishanin, Governor, Irkutsk Oblast: The point is that the authorities are not doing their best. We do not know the magnitude of this phenomenon.
Vladimir Pozner: The problem does exist. It is strikingly obvious. How is it going to be tackled? It is up to the authorities, since it is impossible to address this issue without them.
Now everything will depend on the Governor. Upon seeing what he has seen today, and I think he has seen it for the first time, he should make conclusions. Hopefully, it is understood that I came here not to offend. But this problem must be addressed and a spade should be called a spade. That is all.


On October 30 November 2, 2006, the Federal AIDS Centre jointly with the Russian Health Care Foundation shall hold a VCT and MCTP Seminar under the Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation. The Seminar is meant to train specialists from the Regional AIDS Centres which joined the Programme in September 2006.

The training is expected to contribute into improving the detection of PLWHA for their further referral to treatment and care, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable populations.

[Schedule] (56 kb)

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