Initiated in September 2002, the project developed over a period of two years and a half, with a preparation component of about 6 months. The aim of the interventions developed within this project was, fist and foremost, to evaluate and reduce the risk of HIV mother-to-child transmission. Secondly, it aimed to improve the quality of care and specialized support services provided to the people living with HIV/AIDS in Giurgiu County.

The project had four distinct components:

  1. development and implementation in the local medical community of a good practice model related to the multidisciplinary care provided to HIV positive people, based on access to information and training;
  2. evaluation of risk factors in mother-to-child HIV transmission and reducing these risks by learning and applying the HIV counseling and testing protocol as well as the protocol for ante and post-natal care and support for the HIV positive pregnant woman and her newborn;
  3. improvement in the quality of the care services provided to people affected by HIV/AIDS through psychosocial assistance at the day clinic;
  4. information and education of the public opinion and the general public about the HIV transmission risks;

Partners:

· Giurgiu County General Directorate for Public Health;

· Ministry of Health, National Committee for Fight against HIV/AIDS;

Donors:

  • Partners for Life (The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation)

Project objectives:

  • To evaluate the scale of the HIV mother-to-child transmission and to produce a feasibility study of the intervention;
  • To improve the quality of the medical services for ante- and post-natal care for HIV positive women and their newborns;
  • To increase the information level of medical professionals about the risk of HIV vertical transmission;
  • To implement a multidisciplinary care service similar to the “Sunflower-Smile” Day Clinics and to develop activities for social assistance (including distance adoptions) for the HIV positive women with low socio-economic level;
  • To provide Roma population with information in Romani language taking into account the ethnic, religious and cultural specificities;

Beneficiaries:

  • Over 2.200 pregnant women counseled and tested, of which two confirmed for HIV infection;
  • 328 HIV positive children, beneficiaries of the “Pansy” day clinic, medical unit that had been set up in 1996;
  • 242 members of the medical community in Giurgiu County informed and trained about prevention measures for mother-to-child transmission;
  • Vulnerable communities such as Roma communities in Giurgiu County;
  • Young people and adults in Giurgiu County;

Project activities:

The project activities were grouped on several levels of intervention:

  1. training for the medical and social assistance professionals:
    • social workers – one session (pre- and post-testing counseling, social investigation, social and psychological counseling, social and psychological management of HIV/AIDS cases);
    • family physicians – two sessions (epidemiological data, clinical symptoms of HIV in children, management of HIV positive pregnant women);
    • obstetricians, professionals from the testing centers – one session (epidemiological data, clinical symptoms of HIV infection, post-exposure prophylaxis, HIV prevention);
    • nurses and midwives – one session and one training course (post-exposure prophylaxis, universal precautions in obstetrics clinics);
  2. information materials (can be downloaded from the Publication section of the website);
  • Brochures for pregnant women

1.Keep on living;

2.What a pregnant woman should know

  • Brochures for family physicians

1.HIV counseling for family physicians;

2.Counseling guide for HIV/AIDS patients;

3.Universal precautions on HIV transmission in the medical system;

4.HIV positive child care manual;

  • Brochures for the local community

1.Red Ribbon;

2.Love is Sex?

  1. Initiation of Continuous Medical Education modules for distance learning (in electronic format, on CDs and on the internet as well as in printed format), for the medical professionals;
  2. Activities of the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission Program;

The pregnant women were informed and educated about HIV testing, the infection risk and prevention means. They were provided with counseling and the opportunity for HIV testing. Both HIV positive pregnant women and the babies born from HIV positive mothers were given ARV therapy. The infected pregnant women had the chance to give birth through C-sections. The babies were monitored through the day clinic for diagnosing and initiating therapy;

  1. Study about the HIV mother-to-child transmission;
  2. Assistance provided on a model similar to the “Sunflower-Smile” Day Clinics. The services include medical, social and psychological care.
  3. Prevention through education in Roma communities.

A Roma social worker counseled and informed HIV infected people, distributed and explained the information materials in the community and coordinated the support groups.

  1. Educating the public through the family planning offices. The three family planning offices in Giurgiu received information materials that helped them educate families about the HIV infection.

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