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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Policy impact of voluntary counseling and testing services in Romania

Daniela Iancu, MD, Magdalena Patruleasa, MD, MSc, and S. Katherine Farnsworth, MA. Romanian Representative, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., 13 G. Calinescu, Bucharest, 011691, Romania, +4. (021) 231-9687, dana.iancu@jsi.ro

Romania was historically known within Europe for its high prevalence of children living with HIV/AIDS, many of whom were infected before 1990. In the last decade, rate of HIV transmission increased among adults, mainly due to unprotected sexual intercourse. According to the 1999 Romanian Reproductive Health Survey, over 99% of population had knowledge of HIV/AIDS, but less than 8% had been tested for HIV. Even fewer received counseling when tested. These statistics were alarming given that among sexually active population, only 10% of women and 22% of men reported condom use.

JSI responded through national policy and advocacy development under the Romanian Family Health Initiative (RFHI) financed by USAID. In 2002, the Romanian Association Against AIDS (ARAS) pioneered client-friendly Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services in Romania, also financed by USAID. By collaborating with RFHI, partnerships were facilitated between ARAS, local authorities and health care professionals. As a result, over 500 professionals received interactive VCT training. Furthermore, approximately 12,000 clients were provided free and confidential HIV counseling and testing.

Delivery of VCT services increased availability and utilization of client-oriented services at the primary health care level. Due to lessons learned, the Government of Romania included a key principle on VCT within the 2003-2007 National HIV/AIDS Strategy. An element of this principle involves training additional health care providers. This component of the Strategy assures sustainability of the HIV and STI prevention services.

The VCT model developed under RFHI can easily be scaled-up to the national level, ensuring access to quality services.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Advocacy

Related Web page: www.jsi.com/romania

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Policy Perspectives on Human Rights and Attention to HIV/AIDS Issues

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA