Moldova: NGOs coming together to strengthen HIV response
07 September 2009
Speaking with many voices and representing many different perspectives, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a key role in the response to the AIDS epidemic in countries around the world. As key partners in the development of national AIDS responses, NGOs are well positioned to provide quantative and qualitative information to augment the data collected by governments.
To promote a bigger role of NGOs in the HIV response in Moldova, the League of People Living with HIV of Moldova in collaboration with UNAIDS, hosted a two-day national NGO forum in Chisinau in the middle of June.
Bringing together more than 120 representatives from the civil society, government and international organizations, the Third Forum of Nongovernmental Organizations of Moldova active in area of HIV and TB included 26 NGOs representing all regions of Moldova. Presenting results achieved in the past year while exchanging opinions and experiences, participants agreed that joint efforts are essential for an effective response to AIDS.
Oleg Lozan, Vice Minister of Health, said at the opening ceremony that Moldova has made progress in the AIDS response thanks to the joint efforts made by government and non-governmental organizations. “The civil society’s contribution is huge,” said Lozan, “NGOs have largely covered areas insufficiently reached by the state in the AIDS response.”
Civil society participation in responding to the epidemic has been institutionalized in Moldova through the establishment of several coordination mechanisms such as the Harm Reduction Network, the network of NGOs working in the field of HIV, and the National League of People Living with HIV.
The government of Moldova supports the involvement of NGOs in scaling up the country’s response to HIV. NGOs are active members of the National Coordination Council TB/AIDS and its associated technical working groups and they have fully participated in the formulation of the new 2007 Law on Prevention of HIV/AIDS.
“Civil society involvement has been consolidated in the country and they have contributed to the progress made in different priority areas of the national AIDS response such as HIV prevention, adherence to ARV treatment, harm reduction, and support and care for people infected with and affected by HIV,” said Gabriela Ionascu, UNAIDS Country Coordinator.
HIV in Moldova
Moldova is classified as a country with low prevalence of HIV. According to UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, an estimated 8,900 people are living with HIV in the Republic of Moldova, with 29% being women.
The main mode of transmission is the use of contaminated equipment by injecting drug users. However there are signs of HIV spreading into the general population as unprotected sex is an increasing mode of transmission in the country.
According to a national report issued by National Centre on Health Management in 2008, the proportion of Moldova women among newly reported HIV cases with sexual route of transmission is also growing (62% in 2007, compared to 57% in 2006).