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VCT Program for Sex Workers in Romania

More than 400 sex workers from Romania’s capital Bucharest will from mid-December be able to get free of charge rapid test and counseling for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and Syphilis. The voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) will be carried out by an outreach team of the Romanian NGO ARAS, member of the SWAN Network, in the places where sex workers work and live. The team will use “Social Ambulance”, a vehicle designed for providing services to sex workers. More

“The outreach facility is very important for sex workers. Because of the stigma, discrimination, lack of mobility, identification papers or money, they have no access to public health services” says Veronica Broasca, psychologist in the outreach team.
In the last 7 years ARAS was involved in providing primary medical care, needle exchange, vaccination, social assistance and psychological counseling. Starting 15 December 2006, the new testing component will become a daily activity.
“The testing program is in line with the Romanian National AIDS Strategy. It is based on international good practice models and WHO, CDC-Atlanta, UNAIDS recommendations” says the outreach team coordinator Mihai Tanasescu. He adds that ARAS made several pilot-tests in November, finalizing the project methodology.
Sex workers’ access to Romanian public health services is limited because prostitution is still sanctioned by the country’s penal code.
In addition to Bucharest, ARAS plans to develop similar outreach programs in ten regions in Romania.

Contact person: Marian Ursan, ARAS Romania
E-mail:marian.ursan@arasnet.ro
About ARAS
Website: www.arasnet.ro

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