On April 11-13, Lord Norman Fowler, the Chair of the House of Lords’ Select Committee on HIV, an influential British policy maker, visited Ukraine to familiarise himself with the country’s HIV/AIDS response programmes. As one of the initiators of harm reduction programmes in UK and of a broad HIV prevention public campaign in mid-80s ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’, Lord Fowler personally contributed to reducing the rate of infection through syringe in UK down to 2%.
During his visit Lord Fowler communicated with peers from Ukrainian parliament and clients of opioid substitution therapy programmes, with activists of HIV-service organisations and ambassadors of various countries to Ukraine. He was impressed with Alliance Ukraine programme supported by the Global Fund and found it to be a valuable source of best practice information for regional and global HIV/AIDS response to concentrated epidemics.
“I believe, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The Ukrainian advocacy and service provision experience in harm reduction, specifically syringe exchange, substitution treatment could be used by other countries”, concluded Lord Fowler.
At the same time, Lord Fowler specifically stressed the importance of continuous interventions and the vital role national governments should play in building HIV/AIDS programmes.