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ID: 372

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Advocacy

Topics: Harm Reduction Advocacy and Activism; Human Rights and Harm Reduction

Presenting author: TBC

Presenting author biography:

No biography entered.

”From street to government” is the methodology how to use PWUD community-based street lawyers testimonies for advocacy on national level, created by PWUD who are CCM members in EECA countries.

Olga Byelyayeva, Igor Gordon

Issue – The major problem in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia is a very low coverage of services. In most countries, HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs (PWID) is 10 to 50 times higher than that of the general population. In hospitals, abstinence is not considered medical condition that requires pain management. No adequate addiction treatment would be available from your doctors in HIV and tuberculosis hospitals.

Setting – In 2014, 51% of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) were among people who use drugs (PWUD). People who are afraid of the police are reluctant to seek health care and HIV prevention services. The project will challenge repressive laws and policies which act as barriers to effective harm reduction and HIV programming.

Project –
With funding support from RCNF and MAC AIDS, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and Eurasian Network of People who use drugs developed the project which covered 11 countries of the EECA region and Baltic countries. The approach includes to document the events, small grants support and on-line street lawyer school.

2016. Street lawyers have collected more than 100 cases (mostly video cases) on the issue of criminalization of drug use and accessing PWUD to pain relief and drug treatment in hospitals and rehabilitation centres. These issues were selected as priorities for advocacy in EECA region;
Video cases were used in PWUD community advocacy aiming at bringing this problem to government representatives. As the result of their advocacy efforts, it was agreed that all the cases will be discussed in more detail at CCM and other relevant committee meetings.
2014-2016. In three years more than 500 people have been involved in the programs to uphold the rights of PUDs and advocate for systemic change.