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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

Bulgaria and North Macedonia together to support and develop the Health Mediators program

Blagoevgrad, October 7-9, 2019

Study visit of health mediators, NGO representatives and state institutions from the Republic of North Macedonia took place in October 7-9 in Blagoevgrad. The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) with the support of the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) hosted the three days visit and gave an opportunity for the representatives of HERA – Health Education and Research Association, health mediators from Skopje and Prilep and the Ministry of Health of our neighbor country to understand in details how in years was institutionalized and functions the system of health mediation in Bulgaria. Field visit to the Roma neighborhood Predel Mahala was included in the programme and the guests could see how the work of health mediators Antoaneta Eftimova and Katya Kirilova is going on everyday basis – with institutions, as well with people who need and receive their support.

 
Romeo and Juliet from Kosharnik district

Montana, September 12, 2019

The Shakespeare and Servantes tour around the Roma neighborhoods of Bulgaria went to the Kosharnik district of Montana. Talented and enthusiastic local children, selected by the Roma actress Natalia Tzekova presented fragments of the drama “Romeo and Juliet” from a newer angle and with adequate health messages. The aim of the social theatre is with the means of art to inform the public in a comprehensible manner about the harm of early marriages and early school drop outs, the benefits of contraception, the importance of prevention of sexually transmitted infections. The messages target young people as well as their parents, some of which joined the scenes to demonstrate their support for what their children are saying. With his monologue about the Roma Don Quixote Valeri Lekov, also part of the production team, explained some of the community specificities. Between the sketches there were “real life” scenes – a woman from the community visits a doctor who explains the benefits of contraception and debunks some “fake news” about contraceptive methods – all this with a lot of humour and highly appreciated by the audience.

 
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 HIV and STI counseling and testing for Roma youth from vulnerable communities”, 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.

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