On June 8 and 9, the Forum on Sustainable Healthcare Development was held in Warsaw. Vitaly Djuma, ECOM’s Executive Director, Nikolay Lunchenkov, ECOM’s LGBT Health Coordinator and Nadira Masiumova, Human Rights Coordinator, presented a comprehensive overview of the rights and health of LGBT people in the EECA region.
Nikolay Lunchenkov presented the cascade of HIV services for MSM in the EECA region. He noted that the highest indicators are observed in Ukraine and Kazakhstan out of all the countries of the region. Armenia has the lowest HIV treatment coverage among MSM.
Nikolai Lunchenkov also presented the results of the first analysis of PrEP protocols for EECA countries, which was carried out as part of the SoS_project 2.0 project.
He emphasized that despite the fact that most countries have included PrEP in their services, none of the protocols fully comply with WHO recommendations. In relation to the issue of amending protocols, the role of communities is key, since necessary changes are aimed at simplifying the process of prescribing PrEP and transferring part of the services to the community.
Nadira Masiumova, during a plenary discussion on the key role of communities in responding to human rights violations in the region, shared the results of a study of gender barriers in 15 countries in relation to trans women, which is being finalized by ECOM.
“Our main discovery was the high level of intersectionality within the group. It varies from country to country, but on average, 70% are involved in sex work, and more than half use drugs. Therefore, when we talk about decriminalization, it is important that all key populations are decriminalized. In addition, trans women should be able to change their gender marker. For example, in Uzbekistan there is a criminal article on sodomy, but due to the fact that the procedure for amending one’s gender marker is not clear and creates problems, many trans women may be prosecuted under this article because they have not amended their documents,” stated Nadira Masiumova.
ECOM experts note that the focus of the entire conference as a whole was on the decriminalization of legislation in relation to key populations. This relates not only to laws that criminalize communities, but also to laws that criminalize civil society as a whole (laws on foreign agents, laws on LGBT propaganda). ECOM notes an alarming trend related to the significant shrinking of civic space in the countries of Central Asia, and noted the need for additional joint efforts and focus on these countries.
The forum was held as part of the #SoS 2.0 project, with the support of the Global Fund, and brought together approximately 100 experts from 20 countries. For two days, participants analyzed current challenges and identified new needs at the country level, and shared innovative approaches and strategies that are needed to overcome barriers to access and ensure the sustainability of HIV services in the EECA region.
Publication prepared by ECOM and published as part of the Regional project “Sustainability of services for key populations in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia” (SoS_project 2.0), implemented by a consortium of organizations led by the Alliance fir Public Health in partnership with the CO “100% Life”, with financial support from the Global Fund. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the consortium organizations as well as the Global Fund. The Global Fund was not involved in agreeing and approving either the material itself or the possible conclusions from it.