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International AIDS Society to launch Virtual Media Centre in July to support opioid substitution therapy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Date:7/19/2011

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011 (Rome, Italy) -- As a part of its new initiative, Expanding Access to Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) for People Who Inject Drugs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), the International AIDS Society (IAS) will launch a Virtual Knowledge Centre (VKC) in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy (UIPHP).

The announcement was made today at the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2011), which runs from 17-20 July in Rome and is being attended by more than 5,000 researchers, clinicians and community leaders.

The VKC initiative is a scaling up of the commitment by IAS to drug policy which it adopted as one if its four key priority areas in late 2010. Provision of OST, a call for expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for injecting drug users living with HIV, campaigning against the criminalization of injecting drug users, and a special focus on the EECA region underpin the policy. (1)

The VKC will strive to contribute to improved knowledge and strengthened operations research capacity for scale up of HIV/OST programmes for people who inject drugs by creating an increased Russian-language evidence base around OST, harm reduction and HIV, as well as specialized documents and training modules relevant to professionals, public health experts, narcologists, students, parliamentarians, NGOs and any other interested and involved parties working in this field in EECA. (2)

"The IAS believes that evidence-based interventions are the best way to implement HIV treatment scale-up and will continue to advocate for expanding access to Opioid substitution therapy," said IAS governing Council member Chris Beyrer, who is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights in Baltimore, USA. "The science has been in since the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic 30 years ago - OST and clean needle exchange programs save lives."


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Contact: Lindsey Rodger
lindsey.rodger@iasociety.org
International AIDS Society
Source:Eurekalert

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