Regional Health Initiative
Starting in 2003, the American Red Cross partnered with the Russian Red Cross to provide comprehensive support services to people living with HIV in eastern Siberia’s Irkutsk region. Since then, the program has been replicated and expanded to additional project sites across Russia and other countries in Eurasia: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. In the region with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, the Regional Health Initiative program activities are tailored to meet specific needs and priorities in the various countries. American Red Cross’ approach is to work with the local Red Cross or Red Crescent in these countries to increase access to health information and medical care for HIV-positive people; improve HIV-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors in high risk populations (e.g. disseminating safe sex messages, providing condoms to sexually active individuals); and reduce stigma so that people can have frank discussions about how to prevent the spread of the disease. This regional program aims to benefit more than 151,600 people across all five countries.