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Provide livelihoods programs to stop epidemic of HIV, hepatitis and TB

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Appeal

HIV in Europe and Neighbourhood Forum 24-26 July 2013 in Klaipeda, Lithuania

During the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lithuania Association „Pozitivus  gyvenimas“ together with the East Europe and Central Asia Union of PLWHA has organised an International Forum ‘HIV in Europe and Neighbouring countries’.

The HIV in Europe and Neighbourhood Forum expresses serious concerns over the sustainability of the HIV response in in countries neighboring the European Union and in Central Asia, which heavily depend on international funds that are being phased out. This undermines the evidence-based and human rights-centered responses to HIV, as well as TB, hepatitis and injecting drug use that were developed over years.

All European and Central Asian countries are facing HIV/AIDS challenges and have to find responses tailored to the specific of the epidemic. Yet the HIV epidemic also has important cross border and international dimensions requiring collective EU actions.The present statement intends to remind us all that EU - is about solidarity, fostering social cohesion and advancing the well-being of its citizens - including the health of its most vulnerable populations.

We call on:

To the European Union institutions and bodies:To support sustainable, evidence-based and human rights-centered responses to HIV, as well as TB, hepatitis and injecting drug use.

o   For the EU member states that are struggling for sustaining HIV responses, European Structural Funds should be used in order to prevent similar events to the HIV outbreaks in Greece and Romania

o   Also the EU member states should pay attention on lack of psychosocial services for people living with HIV and key vulnerable populations and European Structural Funds should be used to provide this kind ofvitally necessary support.

o   Lithuania, Latvia and other EU Presidencies should facilitate Eastern Partnership Dialogues around health, including HIV, TB, HCV, and sustainable responses

o   European Commission should actively engage with Eastern European governments and civil societies to ensure affordable (e.g. cost of patented medecines) and sustainable HIV responses and to advance human rights through a future EU HIV Framework and through bilateral agreements

o   European Commission should Develop a mechanism that will allow countries if necessary seek the help of experts and structures of EU in developing schemes to ensure access for affordable, adequate and innovative treatments

To the Global Fund Board, particularly its Strategy, Investment and Impact CommitteeTo require middle-income countries to develop and implement transition plans for replacing the Global Fund’s support with national budgets particularly for antiretrovirals and HIV prevention for key populations. Progress of those plans should be conditional for the Global Fund support.

·         To further strengthen mechanisms to channelfunding for community systems and civil society in support of sustainability of program in middle and high income countries with a high level of HIV prevalence (e.g. as Russia):explore the viability of developing partnerships with external funding mechanisms e.g ITPC collaborative fund to channel community systems strengthening funds directly to communities and civil society organizations.

To National level -  structures and bodies.

Call on National Governments, Parliamentarians to set up task forces to monitor implementation and financing of National responses to HIV and related diseases (or National Strategy for HIV)

·         To demonstrate political leadership in addressing the continued HIV epidemic in Europe, by arranging special parliamentary hearings devoted to monitoring of implementation and financing of National responses to HIV and related diseases an organize special public civil society debates  with engagement of community representatives e.g.  dated to 1 of December;

·         To develop country-specific HIV action strategic plans (for those countries who still don’t have it)  and to support effective responses to HIV through policy dialogue, technical capacity-building and support of engagement of civil society and especially community based organizations into implementation  of this plans;

·         To monitor country-specific HIV action plans (for this countries which already have them) and to take into account when developing (for those countries which need to develop such plans)  that it is foresee the need of affordable medicines and other medical tools

·         To ask for EC support (in case they are from EU member states) in developing schemes to ensure access for affordable, adequate and innovative treatments

This statement is signed by community and civil society organizations from following countries:

Armenia, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Sweden, Serbia, Russia,

And cross-country organizations: European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), East Europe and Central Asia Union of PLWHA (ECUO), Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), “HIV-Europe”.

The process of individual signing is still going on.

Website of "EuroHIV 2013" - http://www.eurohiv2013.eu



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