Scaling up Universal Access for Most at Risk Populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (HIV/AIDS Round 9)

Function of the project

 Street action in Sarajevo, aiming to mark 1st December, World AIDS Day.

HIV/AIDS has had limited impact so far in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with only 74 reported cases of people living with the disease and currently on antiretroviral therapy. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in BiH is low, but this does not preclude new infections, the prevention of which has been the focus of this project. Early identification and early treatment of the virus are two essential ways to prevent transmission to others, but prevention can only be realised with effective treatment and reliable adherence to antiretroviral therapy. BiH has been receiving funds from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) since 2006, has very strongly impacted the country’s maintaining HIV prevalence below 1% in the general population and less than 5% in any of the higher risk populations.

What we do

The project is comprised of targeted actions to prevent transmission to the populations most at risk, and to provide treatment, care and support of existing patients. Within the project, and together with its partners, UNDP is specifically working on:

  • Advocating the placement of HIV/AIDS at the centre of national planning and budgets;
  • Strengthening the national capacity to manage initiatives that include people and institutions not typically involved with public health;
  • Promoting decentralised responses that support community-level action;
    • HIV testing is the foundation for both prevention and care efforts. Hence, 22 centres were established across BiH, which provide free, confidential HIV testing for all;
    • 10 drop-in centres were established where intravenous drug users can receive free medical assistance and kits containing syringes, condoms and HIV prevention information;
    • Support mechanisms in 12 prisons are now available through a network of 60 peer-educators aimed at preventing the spread of HIV and STDs;
    • Appropriate medical care, including antiretroviral treatment, is now available for those living with HIV/AIDS.  Individuals are also provided with psychosocial counselling, as well as food and nutrition supplements;
  • Decreasing the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, which is a non-negligible obstacle to HIV/AIDS prevention and care;
  • Reducing the number of new cases by way of a public campaign that urges safe sex and proper condom use and discourages needle sharing.

Success thus far

  • The Council of Minsiters in BiH adopted the “Response to HIV/AIDS in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2011-2016 Strategy” in September 2011;
  • HIV prevalence among the general population is now below 1% and is less than 5% in higher risk demographics;
  • There has been a marked improvement in inter-sectoral co-operation, leading to a more efficient system of public health supervision, monitoring and evaluation;
  • Civil society has been notably more involved in policymaking.

Goals moving forward

The project has seen very tangible results, but we cannot forget to continue preventing new infections and providing quality treatment, care and support to sustain such low HIV/AIDS prevalence in BiH. This will entail:

  1. Maximising the extension of HIV prevention measures to the higher risk demographics;
  2. Ensuring appropriate prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS;
  3. Altering social constructs surrounding patients seeking prevention and care;
  4. Strengthening the capacity of co-ordinating and implementing agencies to respond to HIV/AIDS.

Financial contributors

Donor Name Amount contributed per year
GFATM* $4,389,664
GFATM $5,048,126
GFATM $2,895,711
  * The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)

Delivery in the previous fiscal years

DEC 2012 $ 9,219,092.79*
DEC 2011 $ 3,896.487,59**
  *resources 2012 Final Finacial Results (1 April 2013)
  **resources 2011 Resources overview (12 January 2012)

Geographic coverage

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