Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HealthRight Hosts Satellite Session on HIV Prevention and Street Youth at AIDS 2010 Conference

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – On July 18, 2010, HealthRight International held a satellite session at the XVII International AIDS conference to highlight the ongoing successes and challenges of HealthRight’s efforts to build access to care and support for street youth in Russia and Ukraine. The event, titled “The Hidden Crisis of HIV Among Street Youth: Research and Rights-Based Approaches from Russia and Ukraine”, was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. 

Speakers included:

  • Tatiana Smolskaya, Head of the Northwest Regional AIDS Center in Russia
  • Roman Yorick, Regional Director for Russia and NIS, HealthRight International
  • Nataliia Nizova, Director of the Ukrainian Center for AIDS Prevention and Control, Ministry of Health of Ukraine
  • Halyna Skipalska, Ukraine Director, HealthRight International
  • Sharon D’Agostino, Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Contributions and Community Relations, Johnson and Johnson

Panelists discussed the holistic models and innovative partnerships that HealthRight is using to reach young people and retain them in programs effectively. They discussed the nexus of several risk behaviors including transactional sex and drug use that put street-involved youth at risk, and the fact that most services are not oriented toward young people or mobile populations, leading to difficulties in reaching them with prevention and support services. HealthRight presented the continuum of care model used to reach street youth and help them transition off the street on their own terms, rather than forcing them into institutional care. Panelists also called for expanding the reach of effective interventions, the need to adapt policies to facilitate rather than hinder access to services, and the need to adjust programs to clients’ specific circumstances by decentralizing services, making them mobile and making them youth-friendly. Audience members raised important points about the need for legislation regarding testing and treatment for minors without parental consent, and the growing population of youth who are over 18 and therefore may be excluded from services.

Photos from the event can be seen below.

Learn more about HealthRight’s work in Russia and Ukraine.