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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

Second training of the peer educators from Sofia Academy for health education

Petrohan, April 12-14, 2019

In the three days between April 12 and 14 took place the second module of the preparation of peer educators from the Health and Sexuality Education Youth Academy, realized with the support of the PIST directorate of Sofia Municipality. The focus of the second stage of education was upon elaboration of communication skills, teambuilding and team work, acquiring of knowledge about the prevention of trafficking of human beings, knowledge of hygiene as a starting point to peer education, adopting healthy eating habits and preventing eating disorders, work with vulnerable groups. In addition to health knowledge, the future peer educators acquired also social and personal ones – how to define one’s personal space – useful when working with young people with disabilities, and how to plan their own free time.

 
The health mediators from Montana, Zaichar and Pirot share their experience

Zaechar – Pirot, March 20-21, 2019 

On March 20th and 21st 2019 the health mediators from Montana participated in working meetings with their colleagues in Zaichar and Pirot. The meetings are organized by BFPA and  take place within the final phase of the ZOV (HEA) programme (Health and Education for All), supported by the Bulgarian – Swiss Cooperation Programme. Besides the members of the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) from Montana, in the study trip were included health specialists working with vulnerable communities in the field, representatives of the Regional Health Inspectorate and of the local municipality. Their colleagues were expecting them in Serbia: representatives of local authorities, local NGOs in Zaichar and Pirot, health specialists, volunteers from the vulnerable local communities.
The key topics on which Bulgarian and Serbian colleagues worked together were exchange of ideas, presenting good practices related to improving the access to health services, education and social services for marginalized groups. The health mediators from Montana were selected to share their experience due to the good results they achieved in their work on the ZOV Programme.

 
First field activities under the Project “My Body, My Rights”

Sofia, Montana, Yambol, February 18-28, 2019

 Partners in the project ‘My Body, my Rights’ (2018–2021) gathered in Sofia on February 25 and 26, 2019 to exchange experience and information. The initiative for health care, information and services for vulnerable people from marginalized families is implemented in Sofia, Yambol and Montana. The meeting gathered the team of BFPA, local project coordinators and health mediators form the three locations, as well as municipalities representatives.
So far, the project team conducted 24 focus groups in the three project locations Montana, Sofia and Yambol - 6 in each one. Participants in the focus groups were girls and boys aged 12-15, 16-25 and over 25 years old. The aim is to explore the attitudes of young people in the communities (especially marginalized groups) towards the family planning services offered and whether they can take independent decisions about their reproductive health.

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