As part of our successful #endHIVbg initiative, on May 31, 2019, we hosted an international conference in Sofia, entitled: “Reaching 90-90-90 in Bulgaria: Reality Check and New Perspectives”. The conference was attended by many relevant stakeholders in the country and featured renowned Bulgarian and international speakers.
Bulgarian health authorities have alluded that Bulgaria has reached the UNAIDS goal of achieving 90-90-90, however, we believe that the actual situation is very different, because many MSM and trans people may not know their HIV status, as expressly evidenced by the results of our pilot #endHIVbg project. With our conference, we opened a dialogue among relevant stakeholders about how Bulgaria can achieve the 90-90-90 goals of UNAIDS in reality. We are planning to do so by a collaborative innovative community-driven approach which can be replicated in other countries with similar demographics and profile.
In the framework of #endHIVbg and the conference we will proactively cooperate with relevant stakeholders: governmental and community organizations, pharma companies, healthcare professionals, international and local experts, media, and the communities that we work with, in order to introduce a pragmatic and multifaceted approach on the HIV/AIDS management in the country and to effectively scale up what we have already achieved as part of #endHIVbg.
Our team - with Momchil Baev as a spokesperson - presented the results from our #endHIVbg initiative, entitled "HIV Testing Among the MSM Group in Bulgaria”, based on the most representative survey within the MSM and trans communities in Bulgaria. You can read the entire report here.
The agenda and the respective speakers and topics were as follows:
• Welcoming remarks by Stanimir Hasurdzhiev, National Patients’ Organization
• UNAIDS Goals 90-90-90 in Bulgaria. Where are we and how to achieve the indicators? – video address by Lisa Buonadonna, GSK
• HIV/AIDS in the Bulgarian context and the size of the MSM population in Bulgaria – Prof. Hristo Taskov, National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases
• “How many of us?" Estimating regional population sizes of MSM in Bulgaria, prof. Axel Schmidt, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
• Results from the innovative campaign #endHIVbg for rapid oral home HIV tests – Momchil Baev, Single Step Foundation
• Leveraging HIV self-testing for trans communities – Emmett Patterson, Grindr for Equality
• Results of the oral rapid HIV testing initiative of Center for Sexual Health – Checkpoint Sofia – Elena Birindzhieva
• “Positive Perspectives” – ViiV Healthcare survey results, Denitza Simenova, MD, GSK
• Medical burden of comorbidities in patients living with HIV, Nina Yancheva, MD, Hospital for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases „Prof. Ivan Kirov“ - Sofia
• Introducing PrEP as a prevention method in Bulgaria - lessons from England and beyond – Will Nutland, co-founder of PrEPster, UK
• How advocacy plays a role in HIV cure and vaccine development – Zachary Barnett, Founder of Abzyme Research Foundation and co-founder of E-Vaccines, Inc., USA
• Screening of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Bulgaria – Iva Filipova, MD, National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases
• Screening and treatment of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in Bulgaria – Assoc. Prof. Marieta Simonova, MD – Clinic of Gastroenterology, Military Medical Academy
We would like to thank again our partners and sponsors that helped us put this event together: