It concerns even those whom it doesn’t concern

In May 2016, UNAIDS Country Office in Belarus and UNICEF Belarus have kicked off “It concerns even those whom it doesn’t concern” public awareness campaign devoted to the voluntary HIV testing.

UNAIDS Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (UNAIDS) initiated this campaign in the region. The campaign aims to achieve one of the indicators of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 strategy by 2020: “90% of people living with HIV know their status.” In Belarus, the campaign was launched on November 25, 2015, and has been implemented by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Belarus.

The goal of the campaign is to attract the attention of people who might be infected, but do not know about it and believe that it does not concern them. Having passed the HIV test on time, in case of a positive response to HIV, a person can receive the necessary medical assistance, and thereby stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Belarus.

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador in Belarus Svetlana Borovskaya, Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Belarus Vladimir Pugach and TV presenter Dmitry Bochkov became “It concerns even those whom it doesn’t concern” campaign faces in Belarus.

The campaign’s slogan targets the audience directly: #getTESTedHIV, encouraging people to regularly undergo HIV testing and take responsible care of their health.

A new for Belarus method of HIV testing—rapid HIV saliva test—will be presented. This simple procedure does not require blood sampling and without using any laboratory equipment, in about 20 minutes produces accurate results on whether a person is HIV-positive or HIV-negative. Simplicity and convenience of the method make it possible to use it practically in any conditions, including beyond a medical institution, and the reliability of the result is 99%.

This kind of testing will be available for young people in Youth Friendly Health Centres where everyone can test for HIV free of charge and anonymously (using normal or rapid method) and get professional advice. As for the date, there are 50 such Centers in Belarus opened jointly by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus. Different medical professionals work at the Centers: a pediatrician, a gynecologist, a psychologist, a narcologist, a dermatologist-venereologist, a health science professional. At the primary consultation, the doctor jointly with an adolescent will identify the problem, give the initial recommendations and, if necessary, arrange a visit to another professional. At a later stage, such rapid tests will become available in medical institutions, as well as in pharmacies for self-testing.

During the year, the campaign team “It concerns even those whom it doesn’t concern” will hold events in all regions of Belarus, including the regional centers of the country.

On May 17, Brest will be the first city en route of the campaign, and on May 18, the campaign activities will be held in Baranavičy.

In the Brest region, “It concerns even those whom it doesn’t concern” campaign " is presented by the TV-host Elena Damieva.

Within the “It concerns even those whom it doesn’t concern” campaign activities in Brest, a memorial alley #getTESTedHIV will be founded in memory of people who have died of AIDS and as a sign of solidarity and support for people living with HIV.

In addition, press conferences, mass voluntary rapid HIV testing actions will be held in Brest (May 17) and Baranovichi (May 18) with the participation of the UNAIDS and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Svetlana Borovskaya and Vladimir Pugach, as well as such well-known media persons and entertainers as Denis Dudinsky, Ekaterina Rajetskaja, and Elena Damieva.

Activities for the youth are also planned to happen at the Youth Friendly Health Centers. By the way, such Centres in the Brest region exist not only in Brest but also in Baranovichi and Pinsk.

Also, while en route in Brest and Baranovichi, the campaign will screen video cases that are based on the youth HIV/AIDS-themed “Above the Skies” series. For professionals working with adolescents and young people, workshops on using video cases created on the basis of the mentioned series will be held in the local universities.

Media partners of the campaign are ATN BT and “KP in Belarus”.