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HIV/AIDS AND STI

Anti AIDSThe provision of services and information related to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) is an essential part of BFPA’s work. BFPA was a co-founder of the National Anti-AIDS Coalition which built the basis of the NGO HIV and health prevention work in Bulgaria and in its most active phase gathered more than 40 non-governmental organizations, governmental and business structures from all over the country. While executing various projects targeted towards young people and marginalized communities BFPA strengthened the existing partnerships and networking by establishing relations with other organizations acting locally in the area of HIV and AIDS.
The key projects which helped this process are:
• Social marketing of contraceptives – COOL condoms (1998-2003)
• “Do not use excuses! Use condoms!” (2001) aiming at overcoming stereotypes connected to condom usage.
• "Play in safe!" Youth Information Network which included young people from 15 locations around the country (2003-2005)
BFPA is part of the national VCT network since 2006. Since 2012, besides HIV testing and the chlamydial tests, which are set in the BFPA activities, we offer tests for Hepatitis B and C and HPV testing. Simce last year we offer a new service – testing for Syphilis, that will continue in 2019 as well as the recently started referrals for Gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. An added value in the activities of BFPA is theconnection SRH services - HIV prevention.
In the last years BFPA focused its efforts on providing adequate information and services in settlements which were poorly covered even in the period the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) was active. This includes the regions of Silistra, Montana, Pazardjik and greater Sofia region by paying attention to the most at risk groups. After GFATM's HIV prevention related activities in Bulgaria ended in 2015, the Association continues its VCT for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, chlamydia and recently for Syphilis with its own funding and efforts. With other partner organizations BFPA covered all prisons in the country with educational and VCT screening activities for prevention of blood=transmitted and Sexually transmitted infections. The deeper work in this aspect began in 2015 and continued till the end of 2016 in three selected prisons.
BFPA also supplies services concerning SRHR for People Living with HIV (PLHIV). They include gynaecological examinations, pre- and post-abortion counselling and referrals to other health specailists and health institutions for in vitro fertilization and sperm wash for discordant couples. Together with its partner PLHIV organizations BFPA is working on legislative recommendations on access to medical services and patient rights.
In 2017 at BFPA's health centre were conducted 122 HIV tests,31 Hepatitis B, 32 Hepatitis C and 31 Syphilis tests. More than 1000 clients received counseling for STI and HIV prevention in 2017. The Association maintains the started on December 1 2017 blog – AIDS PRESS focused on media monitoring on HIV and PLHIV related issues.
In 2018 BFPA team in partnership with the “Hope against AIDS’ foundation started a national Stigma Index survey towards PLHIV. Such a survey was realized by the two partner organizations in 2010 for the first time and it is time for a second round. The survey is not only done FOR PLHIV, but it is also conducted BY PLHIV. Results will be shared in the first half of 2019.

 

 

 

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Latest news

BFPA kicks off a new two-year project “I Want to Know”

Sofia, August 23, 2019

With an official green light on August 23, as of Sep 1st BFPA starts activities on a new project – “I Want to Know: User friendly access to counselling and testing for Roma youth”, supported by ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Programme via CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) UK. The project’s duration is 2 years, during which BFPA will provide voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) with a focus on young Roma men (but not excluding women as well) from poor and marginalized districts through its coordinators in the five BFPA branches in Bulgaria - Pleven, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, Russe and Sofia. Activities will begin with a kick-off meeting and VCT training for the service providers, in parallel with informing and awareness raising by elaboration of info materials, disseminated in the targeted communities by one of the closest and dearest BFPA partners – Health Mediators.

 
Social and health messages in Roma neighbourhoods through theatre

Sofia, July 31, 2019

On the last day of July the Roma neighbourhood Fakulteta in Sofia was visited by William Shakespeare and Miguel de Servantes. We started with the best – Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote. The Roma actress Natalia Tzekova staged a funny and educational performance with the participation of talented children and youth from the neighborhood in which the art was intertwined with social and health related messages. Romeo and Juliet demonstrated the benefits of family planning, contraception and health education and spoke in verse about the harm of school dropout, early marriages and children having children. The participants performed short sketches which contained the same messages, debunked myths and demonstrated how powerful personal example is. Don Quixote explained some of the community specificities which started a short discussion on stage who should take example from whom about health and health prevention. In between sketches and play scenes the participants shared their own personal stories about health and family planning. At the end of the play as a recap of what was presented they raised a few banners with messages on the same topic”: “I have dreams and goals”, “I am not an incubator for babies”, “Ask – someone will tell you”. The audience appreciated the messages and the element of humor in the sketches and play scenes.

 
The alumni of the first Health Education Academy graduated successfully

Sofia, June 17, 2019

Monday, June 17th. Our first alumni class of the Sofia Health Education Academy demonstrated their skills and knowledge in front of classmates, teachers, school directors, school psychologists, parents and supporting institutions. The solemn event took place in the Events Hall at 1st High school, Sofia. The young people from 1st, 144th, 119th schools, 1st ELS and the Professional School of Textile and Fashion Design split into three teams after “drawing straws” and presented the topics “Transformations During Puberty”, “Contraception and STIs” and “Prevention of addictions”. We are very glad that our video on puberty was part of the “fun”. Otherwise the presentations pushed the audience to participate actively. The culmination was a surprise for all – we were visited by the TV show “Masters of the air” who enhanced the effect of the challenge.

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