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JAZAS, Serbia

JAZAS, Serbia

Established in 1991 in Belgrade, JAZAS was the first NGO active in AIDS prevention in the former Yugoslavia.

In the area of prevention, JAZAS has organized several national campaigns, such as 'Listen, Learn, Live' in 1999/2000, “Don’t Let Prejudices Judge” in 2003, “Always With Condom” in 2004, “Belgrade March of Solidarity With HIV-Positive” in 2005, etc. National Summer School is organized annually with local and international peer educators working with highs school students from Serbia, discussing STI, sexual behavior, risk factors and prevention. Over the years, JAZAS became the resource of expertise in the area of HIV/AIDS and media editors frequently call its members to comment, write op-eds and participate in educational broadcasts.

JAZAS focused its advocacy efforts on policy development and promotion. Development and publishing of prevention guidelines for medical community, schoolteachers, Red Cross activists and local community is matched with training activities. Schoolteachers have been trained all over Serbia; educational seminars for journalists organized on the issues of portrayal, as well as for policemen on human rights of marginalized and stigmatized groups; 'Handbook for Medical Workers' has been developed and presented to doctors at training seminars.

Through research and targeted surveys, daily contacts with marginalized groups, and international exchange of practice, JAZAS became a policy think-tank in the area of HIV/AIDS and the civil society partner to all the national bodies and initiatives addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS, such as the National AIDS Committee, HIV Prevention Among Vulnerable Groups of Population Initiative Network in Serbia - Montenegro, and others.

In the area of service provision, JAZAS provides AIDS Info-Phone and web-based info-line with free daily professional support; condo-mats installed in cities around Serbia; free HIV testing. In close co-operation with sex workers JAZAS in 2002 held a needs assessment survey among 116 sex workers in Serbia. One of the results of this initiative was establishment of the first Mobile Medical Unit in the country. The Unit parks at a set time and place convenient for sex workers and offers free services such as medical consultations, check-ups, referral to other health services, pre- and post-testing counseling, treatment of STIs, distribution of condoms and lubricants.

Says Ana Krajnc: “In the recent past, when our country went through a very difficult period, the voice of JAZAS was one of the few in favor of marginalized groups in Serbia. We were a valuable role model for other NGOs, media, and the whole society. Most recently, JAZAS turned to an especially vulnerable and highly stigmatized group of citizens – sex workers. Approaching sex workers together with partners such as SOA AIDS Netherlands and HESED Bulgaria, we have got a precious experience and many arguments for future advocacy and policy-making activities.”

The organization has developed a broad base of activists’ support around its 11 regional offices in Serbia. It is membership-based and its each activity is made with participation of volunteers. 900 JAZAS volunteers took it to the streets of Belgrade on December 3, 2005 to show solidarity with people living with HIV, a group highly stigmatized in Serbia.

Contact person: Ana Krajnc

E-mail: krajnca@hotmail.com  

Website: www.jazas.org.yu