EDPI Partner from Bulgaria: Initiative for Health Foundation
The main activities of Initiative of Health are aimed at reduction of the health and social harm, related to drug use; prevention of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users and among especially vulnerable groups, such as sex workers and Roma community; training of professionals and volunteers in HIV/AIDS prevention among injecting drug users; research projects in the field of drug use and HIV area; advocacy efforts for effective policies.
Since 1998 the organization carries out an outreach program for prevention of HIV and other blood transmitted infections among injecting drug users. In 2003 Initiative for Health opened the first drop-in center for drug users in Sofia, and in 2006 – a second one in the Roma community. The organization offers its clients sterile injecting equipments’, counseling and testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis, informational activities and social assistance to people living with HIV.
The education of professionals and research activities are also an important part of the IHF’s activities. The foundation has completed/participated in several research projects on the profile, behavior and needs of the target group, thanks to its unique and broad access to non-institutionalized drug users. Educational, advocacy and research activities have resulted in different publications.
IHF has participated in a number of international projects, mostly with European focus. It is a member of: the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network, the European Network for Social Inclusion and Health ‘Correlation”, the European Drug Policy Network, the International Drug Policy Consortium. The organization collaborates with a number of European partners, working in the field of HIV prevention and care, drug use, sex work, Roma communities.
In the recent years the foundation is a sub-implementer of the National programs “Prevention and control of HIV/AIDS” and “Improving the control of TB in Bulgaria” for two specific target groups – injecting drug users and Roma community. It is also gaining power in the field on drug policies, becoming one of the leading Bulgarian organizations engaged with fact based drug policy debate.
E-mail: sofianep @ online.bg