Social exclusion of sexual minorities in Latvia will be reduced by improving access to health care services.

In order to improve access to health care services for men who have sex with men, the NGO “Baltic HIV Association” in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Latvia, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and Their Friends’ Alliance “Mozaika”, and the Association “Gay and Lesbian Health Norway” has initiated the project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services” on January 2, 2014.

Read more

Within the project, the training of health care professionals on the needs of MSM, specific risk factors, examination and diagnostic methods will be carried out with the aim of establishing a Network of doctors where MSM will be able to get MSM-friendly health care services. The first Check-point in Riga will be established in the premises of the Alliance “Mozaika”, where MSM will be able to be tested for infectious diseases and get consultations free of charge. The volunteers involved in the project will disseminate information about the new opportunities for MSM. So far, these kinds of services have not been available in Latvia.

As a best practice example to reduce MSM social exclusion, serves experience from Norway. In Oslo, Norway several GP practices have created MSM-friendly health care services, where MSM can receive medical assistance by doctors who have gained additional knowledge about their specific needs and health problems. Another good practice example from Oslo is a Check point where MSM can be tested for infectious diseases and get consultations free of charge.

The project will be implemented from January 2014 to June 2015. The project is co-financed by the Social Integration Fund and the EEA Financial Mechanism. The project is financially supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Project contact person: Inga Upmace, e-mail: inga.upmace@balthiv.com

MSM project logo

 

(03.02.2014.)

 

Established network of supportive doctors for men who have sex with men

In July Network of supportive doctors for men who have sex with men (MSM), has established. This Network includes 11 doctors – infectologists, dermatovenerologists and family doctors. Addressing to those doctors MSM could receive consultation without stigmatization and discrimination because of their lifestyle.

This Network is established within the project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services”. Before the establishing of Network training for doctors were carried out. In the October one more training will be provided in purpose to enlarge Network of supportive doctors for MSM.

Contact information of supportive doctors: http://balthiv.com/testpunkts/atbalstoso-arstu-tikls and http://testpunkts.lv/wp/pakalpojums/

(07.08.2014.)

 

Volunteers has started work in MSM Project

10 volunteers has started work in project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services” in June, but two volunteers joined project from July.

Read more

In the Training, volunteers got information about the implemented and planned activities within the project; MSM needs in health care; Norwegian experience in provision of specific health care services for MSM; HIV and STIs – epidemiology, how to recognize and prevent those infections; about routine health checkups for MSM – examinations, their frequency and necessity; rapid tests of HIV and Syphilis; how to talk to MSM about disease prevention; communication and motivation; and about volunteer’s work significance in project.

Volunteer’s main tasks are – to participate in Testpunkts work; to explain questions about health and prevention to MSM; to address and encourage men to check their health and to distribute information about available services in Testpunkts. Till now, in participation of volunteers, some info materials are in process – logo of Testpunkts, promotion video and poster of Testpunkts, also homepage www.testpunkts.lv . After establishing Network of doctors, volunteers will help to distribute this information to MSM.

NGO “Baltic HIV Association” reminds, that at the Checkpoint (Testpunkts) men have possibility to make rapid testing to HIV and syphilis. Testing is free of charge, anonymous, result – in 20 minutes. While waiting for the tests results, it’s possible to get consultation about infectious diseases and prevention measures, also condoms and lubricants. Testpunkts is easily reachable – Stabu Str.19, Office II, Riga. Open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6.00 pm till 8.30 pm., phone 28441324. Map: http://balthiv.com/checkpoint or www.mozaika.lv

(31.07.2014.)

Testpunkts reminds – get tested!

NGO “Baltic HIV Association” reminds, that at the  Checkpoint (Testpunkts) men have an unique possibility to make rapid testing to HIV and syphilis. Testing is free of charge, anonymous, result – in 20 minutes. While waiting for the tests results, it’s possible to get consultation about infectious diseases and prevention measures, also condoms and lubricants.

Don’t hesitate – get tested! Especially – after Midsummer night.

Testpunkts is easily reachable – Stabu Str.19, Office II, Riga. Open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6.00 pm till 8.30 pm., phone 28441324. Map: http://balthiv.com/checkpoint

Read more

The Checkpoint is opened within the project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services”.

(25.06.2014.)

In June 12-14, 2014, the Baltic HIV Association is organizing Training for volunteers and health care professionals working with MSM

Continuing implementation of the project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services”, the training of health care professionals and volunteers on the needs of MSM, specific risk factors, examination and diagnostic methods will be carried out with the aim of establishing a Network of doctors where MSM will be able to get MSM-friendly and supportive health care services. Trainings will be held from June 12 to 14th, 2014.

Read more

Training for in project involved volunteers will be held on June 12, at Days Hotel VEF, in Riga. Topics of training include – information about the implemented and planned activities within the project; MSM needs in health care. Norwegian experience in provision of specific health care services for MSM; HIV and STIs – epidemiology, how to recognize and prevent those infections? Routine health checkups for MSM – examinations, their frequencyand necessity. Rapid tests of HIV and Syphilis; How to talk to MSM about disease prevention? Communication and motivation; Volunteer’swork, meaning of volunteer’swork.

Two-day training for healthcare professionals will be held for June 13-14, 2014, at Hotel Club 1934, in Ogre. Topics of training include – Introduction to the project and planned activities; STI and HIV in Latvia. InformationfromEMISstudyontheliving conditions,  experiencedstigmaand healthassociatedrisks among MSM in Latvia; Discrimination issues; Psychological aspects of working with MSM; MSM needs in health care; Norwegian experience in provision of specific health care services for MSM; Discussion – MSM personal experience with health care: positive and negative; Specificities of sexual health among MSM. The most commoninfectious diseasesamongMSMandthespecificmedical examinations; Rapid tests of HIV and Syphilis, usage of the tests; MSM and patients’ rights. Discrimination in health care.

Lecturers – practitioners, medical teaching doctors RSU faculty members, leading experts in the field of patients’ rights and the Norwegian Gay and Lesbian Health Association representative.

Training is provided by NGO „Baltic HIV association”.

One day training programme for volunteers.

Two-day training programme for health care professionals.

(10.06.2014.)

 

Positive feedback received from Checkpoint visitors

The Checkpoint (Testpunkts) has operated successfully during the first month. 13 men (aged 17 to 46) have attended the Checkpoint from March 5 to April 4. Every visitor has received a consultation and has been tested for HIV and syphilis. It is also possible to receive condoms for free in the Checkpoint.

Majority of visitors say good words about services provided in the Checkpoint. One of the visitors said: “Nobody has ever paid so much attention to consultation and spend so much time to consult me in any health care institution I have attended. The consultation was very versatile.”

Read more

The Checkpoint has started to work on March 5, 2014, and is located in the NGO “Mozaika” premises, Stabu Street 19-Office II, Riga. The Checkpoint is open for visitors twice a week in the evening hours – Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6.00 pm till 8.30 pm. All services provided by the Checkpoint – information and/or consultation about infectious diseases and prevention measures, consultations about medical facilities and specialists, express testing on HIV and syphilis –  is free of charge and provided in friendly and confidentially manner. Advance registration by calling the consultant – 28441324.

The Checkpoint is opened within the project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services”.

(14.04.2014.)

 

The Checkpoint for men is opened on 5th March, 2014

The NGO “Baltic HIV Association” has opened the Checkpoint (Testpunkts), which is the first testing & counselling place on HIV and sexually transmitted infections for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Testpunkts_logoAn individual logo is created for newly opened Checkpoint and it symbolizes received examination or consultation. The Checkpoint is located in the NGO “Mozaika” premises, Stabu Street 19-Office II, Riga, and is open for visitors twice a week in the evening hours – Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6.00 pm till 8.30 pm.

All services provided by the Checkpoint – information about infectious diseases and prevention measures, consultations about medical facilities and specialists, express testing on HIV and syphilis – is free of charge.

Read more

Currently the spread of HIV infection among men who have sex with men is the highest in majority of European countries. Also in Latvia, the HIV prevalence is high, and the dominant transmission mode is sexual transmission already for several years.

Within the MSM project a website www.testpunkts.lv for Checkpoint will be developed and cooperation with health care providers established. It is planned to involve also volunteers in carrying out project activities.

The Checkpoint is opened within the project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services”.

(07.03.2014.)

 

Minutes of the first Project Steering committee’s meeting

The first MSM Project Steering committee meeting was held at the EU house in Riga on February 12, 2014. Six MSM Project steering committee members took part in the meeting.

Read more

Ms.Evija Dompalma-Linuza, the head of the board of the NGO „Baltic HIV Association”, presented objectives of the NGO, as well as activities and projects carried out by NGO. The project manager Ms.Inga Upmace informed about the project progress and planned activities, upcoming tasks, planned deliverables and results. The project PR specialist Ms.Inese Skrastina presented summary of the project publicity activities and informed about the publicity requirements for the project.

The Steering committee approved all acts regulating group’s activities and discussed tasks for the next 6 months: creation of new website with information about the project’s activities and services provided for MSM; establishment of health care providers’ network and organization of training for doctors and volunteers. The date of the next Steering group’s meeting was agreed upon as well.

(14.02.2014.)

Project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services” opening conference along with the press-conference will be held on February 5, 2014

Project “Promoting social inclusion of men who have sex with men (MSM) by improving access and quality of health care services” has been initiated on January 2, 2014.

Read more

The project will be implemented in order to improve access to health care services for men who have sex with men in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Latvia, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and Their Friends’ Alliance “Mozaika”, and the Association “Gay and Lesbian Health Norway”.

The Project opening conference will be represented by the Ministry of Health of Latvia, the NGO “Baltic HIV Association” which is responsible for project implementation, and project partner the Alliance “Mozaika” and the Association “Gay and Lesbian Health Norway”. Also, the NGOs and the representatives of health institutions related to MSM, the doctors who will participate in the Network, and reporters.

The project will be implemented from January 2014 to June 2015. The project is co-financed by the Social Integration Fund and the EEA Financial Mechanism. The project is financially supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

(03.02.2014.)