On the eve of international HIV/AIDS Day, December 1, a group of 17 people from Russian city of Archangelsk and its region visited Sweden. Archangelsk lies in the far north of western part of Russia near the White Sea, with a population of over 356 000 inhabitants. It used to be Russia’s most important harbour city before St.Petersburg was founded in 1703 and still is one of the biggest commercial ports exporting fish and timber.

 
ECAD was a co-organizer to this study visit financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers working against the spread of drug abuse, HIV and AIDS.
The group consisting of prevention practitioners and university researchers, health, penitentiary and social service workers, Russian Federal Drug Control Service agent, policeman and parliamentarian, was on tour over Swedish social and health care services with a special focus on prevention.
  
Detrimentally contributing to the spread of HIV and AIDS, injecting drug users remain the primary concern for all parties involved in prevention in the Archangelsk region, scaling from educational institutions to policy makers. 
Therefore study programme included
visits to Swedish NGOs engaged in public policy moulding and AIDS problems (RNS and Noaks Ark), facilities for homeless and AIDS/HIV-infected (Convictus), state youth prevention centres (Swedish County Council), former criminals society adjustment NGO KRIS (Criminals Return Into Society) and National Police Board.
Arkhangelsk_study_visit


Giving credit to the well-functioning complex approach to health care in Sweden and cooperation between public and state organisations, Russian guests straight after their return came with some initiatives on inter-institutional cooperation. Among those were legislative improvements to define regional prevention measures against HIV/AIDS spread in Archangelsk region and cooperation mechanisms between institutions in charge; a new homepage covering all prevention actions to curb drug abuse and HIV/AIDS spread in the region; electronic data base for prevention work proceedings applicable in schools and other educational bodies, and expert council to work on developing preventive methods of all levels, designed for various social groups.

 

ECAD thanks warmly its partner organisations and state bodies for all help with this visit.