During the meeting of Eugene Osinovsky, the Minister of Health and Labour of Estonia, and the representatives of non-governmental organizations, they discussed the issues of state-level support of HIV prevention programs for key risk groups, the possibility of creating a platform for the discussion of issues related to HIV in Estonia, the implementation of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis programs, research, and the role of communities in this process.

“Today’s meeting once again showed that in order to promote an equitable and sustainable the national level response, it is necessary to ensure personal responsibility of government officials for policy and decision-making from the point of view of financing, but also it is necessary for community leaders to continue advocating for universal access to HIV treatment”, said Lachin Aliyev, one of the participants of the meeting and the director of the Estonian Network of PLHIV.

“Guided by successful performance in HIV response in some European countries, we are convinced that to give an effective response to the challenge in Estonia it is necessary to establish a unified platform involving the state, communities affected by HIV, health care providers, scientific communities, legal and regulatory bodies, pharmacologists, and modern media for the regular exchange of information on planned and ongoing steps and actions taken within the National Program on HIV 2017-2025. The major outcome of the meetings was the identification of the necessity to improve the multi-sector collaborative mechanism which will ensure meaningful participation of communities in all the directions of the implementation program of the National Program on HIV/AIDS adopted in 2017”, Aliyev said.

During the meeting, the Minister was presented with “Brief on HIV among MSM in Estonia“, prepared by ECOM, which describes the situation of HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The document describes the measures taken for HIV prevention among the group, the trend of increase in HIV infections number among MSM in neighboring countries, the existing difficulties of providing preventive services, it also provides recommendations and next steps to be taken to reduce HIV prevalence among gay men and other MSM in Estonia.