HELPING TO LIVE: Russia and Estonia working together

The Project “Reduction of social consequences of an HIV spread in Estonia and Leningrad Region of Russia” (HELPING TO LIVE) which was implemented by joint efforts of Russian and Estonian partners – Social Support and Public Health Foundation «POSITIVE WAVE», St. Petersburg, and NCO “Evrica”, Narva, finalized its work. The project was most important in the current situation of rapid prevalence of HIV in the bordering areas. Estonia demonstrates the highest rate of HIV prevalence in European Union, and almost every second HIV-positive person lives in the territories bordering with Russia. Leningrad Region is in the tenth of Russian Regions with highest rates of HIV prevalence. That is why the problem is among the topical issues for both partner regions where before the project was started there had been no joint initiatives tackling HIV spread and live with HIV.

Support to people leaving with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) is very important as after being diagnosed such people are often left to themselves without any possibility to discuss their problems with anybody but doctors, and that is especially urgent in small settlements. To help PLWA return to active life consultations of psychologists and social workers are needed. Centres of psychological and social help for PLWA were organized in the frame of the project to give such support. Within two years of project work 1200 people got consultations of psychologists (including work in consultation groups), lawyers, social workers, specialist on employment. Information brochures on living with HIV (3 different brochures, 4000 copies in total) were worked out and became an important source of necessary information for PLWA.

The project was not confined to individual consultations for HIV-positive people. To ensure sustainability of PLWA support Social care institutions were invited to cooperation in the municipalities where there are no specialized institutions for the work with HIV-positive people. In Leningrad Region 3-day training and study tour to Estonia were organized for them with the help of Estonian colleagues. The participants of these educative activities got acquainted with most valuable experience of Estonian social care specialists and their best practices, established new working contacts for the further work, acquired new knowledge. More than 50 people were trained in two countries as a result of the educative work. A handbook on the work with HIV-positive people as guidance for social workers was prepared in the frame of the project.

The project paid attention to the work with municipal authorities as well. Representatives of local administrations took part in project events and became the target audience of 4 info-seminars, in which in total 80 people participated. Regular working meetings and round table discussions helped to attract the attention of authorities to the problem of HIV spread in the project territory. 

The project worked much on rising awareness of people about the HIV problem in bordering regions and bringing forward the project results. More than 50 publications in printed and internet media and TV reports were issued during the project lifetime, project activities were reflected at the project web site .

One of the most valuable results of the project is establishing close cooperation contacts between different organizations of neighbouring countries working in the same sphere, possibility of working out joint approach to common problems of the target group and joint work on the problems solutions.

More information on the project acrtivities:
Tel: +7 921 9127898

Information prepared by the project.