Scaling up HIV prevention and treatment in the Russian Federation
WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation have intensified their collaboration in the field of HIV prevention and treatment. This scale-up was embodied in 2 recent events: a workshop aimed at clinicians involved in HIV treatment and care, and the first meeting of the Thematic Working Group on HIV Treatment and Care on 25–27 March 2019 in St Petersburg.
Better clinical outcomes through introduction and review of latest evidence
The 2-day workshop brought together more than 30 clinicians treating HIV patients in various regions of the country with WHO experts to review the latest evidence-based treatment protocols, and to accelerate active engagement in scaling up HIV treatment and care.
These activities are in line with the Russian Federation’s HIV and health strategy, which sets out to ensure access to good-quality care for the whole population. Themes discussed at the workshop included:
- antiretroviral treatment regimens and their regular updates at the clinical level;
- monitoring of HIV treatment outcomes;
- HIV prevention benefits of antiretroviral treatment;
- coinfections; and
- best practices for HIV treatment and care service-delivery models.
Participants recognized the workshop as a substantial platform for internal and external knowledge-sharing and information updates. National experts participating in the event called for WHO’s further input into 2 key areas: the provision of such knowledge-sharing platforms on a regular basis, and support for the harmonization of guidelines.
Thematic Working Group on HIV Treatment and Care
The 2-day workshop was followed by the first meeting of the Thematic Working Group on HIV Treatment and Care. The Working Group was established as a thematic task force to identify and share best-policy examples with the High-level Working Group on HIV, which WHO and the Ministry of Health established in April 2017 as a platform for discussing key policy options for accelerating the response to HIV.
Participants agreed on the following major areas of work for 2019:
- ensuring harmonization of national guidelines with WHO recommendations;
- sharing best practices and advice for improved case detection;
- working with primary health-care providers to increase the awareness and alertness of primary care physicians to HIV/AIDS; and
- addressing resistance to antiretroviral treatment and increasing coverage and quality of treatment.
Collaboration to leave no one behind
Collaboration between WHO and the Russian Federation focuses on universal health coverage principles. The efforts of the High-level Working Group have become key elements for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals’ vision of “leaving no one behind” by promoting health and serving the vulnerable.
In this context, events to exchange and disseminate knowledge such as the 2-day workshop will continue to address key topics for ensuring higher-quality treatment coverage.