Around 1.5 million people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia were living with HIV at the end of 2010.  It is estimated that over two-thirds of the area’s infected people live in Russia; and, combined with Ukraine, these two countries account for almost 90 per cent of the region's newly reported HIV diagnoses.  Since 2001, HIV prevalence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has increased by 250 per cent, making the region home to the world’s most rapidly expanding epidemic, which is concentrated mainly among injecting drug users (IDUs).


Amid this background, AIDSLEX will host an Ask the Expert session on HIV and drug policy in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia with Anya Sarang and Mikhail Golichenko.  They will respond to user questions on the impact of the disease in the region, particularly as it relates to IDUs, and on efforts to change retrograde government policy and laws concerning harm reduction and others measures aimed at HIV prevention.

To submit a question, please write to experts@aidslex.org.  Deadline is 2 April 2012.  The responses will be posted on AIDSLEX later that month.

Biographies

Mikhail Golichenko is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network in Toronto.  Prior to his appointment with the Legal Network, he was a Legal Officer with the UNODC Country Office for the Russian Federation in Moscow, where his work focused on the promotion of human rights and addressing legal barriers to accessing effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs for prisoners and people who inject drugs. 

Anya Sarang is President of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice in Moscow, where she works on advocacy for access to health and protection of human rights, as well as dignity for people who use drugs and humane drug policies.  For the past 11 years, her work has focused on developing and supporting the emerging harm reduction movement in Russia through various training and networking activities.

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