Examples of adequate influence on changes in national policy on harm reduction programs in Moldovan prisons

Speaker: Larisa Pintilei (NGO, Innovating Projects in Prisons of Moldova, Republic of Moldova).

Moldova is one of the few countries that managed to achieve great success in HIV prophylaxis and preventing an AIDS epidemic. Starting 2005, Moldova has had a national program, including a legal framework for HR programs. HR programs in Moldova were initially implemented in prisons. The first pilot project started in 1999. The main problem was receiving permission to implement the pilot project in prisons, due to the absence of a legal framework covering HR practices. The program managed to get permission for anonymous research, aiming to establish the fact of drug use in prisons and availability of sterile instruments. It then presented the research results to the Director of the Penitentiary Department, and received a permit to start the pilot project in the prison where research took place. After one year, due to the results, the program was allowed to open HR projects in other prisons, including needle exchange and condom distribution. The implemented HR practices proved to be efficient, resulting in significant decrease in new cases of HIV, HVC and HVB. The state had to admit the efficiency of HR practices. Because of this the National policy on HIV/AIDS prophylaxis was developed and approved. As experts in the domain, we note that many countries are willing to implement such projects, but lack the appropriate legal framework to do so. Our example intends to show that the situation can be changed just by proving that the problem exists and providing solutions, thereby creating a strong argument to sustain HR programs.

CV: Larisa Pintilei was born on 23th April 1967; Education: 1990-1991, State Medical University “N. Testemitsanu”, postgraduate education, general medicine; 1984-1990 State Medical University “N.Testemitsanu”, general medicine; Present position – Director of ONG “Innovative Projects in Prisons” and coordonator of the project “Harm reduction in prisons.”; Professional experience: 1998-present, senior specialist, internist at the Medical Service of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, Ministry of Justice, Republic of Moldova;2002-present, project director “Harm reduction in prisons”; 2003-2004, Project Coordinator on “Overcoming stigmatization and discrimination of HIV-infected inmates in prisons of Moldova”; 1999-2004 Project Coordinator “Fighting HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries”; 2004-2006, project director “Harm reduction in prisons”; July 2005, Entered into the list of experts and consultants for the project “Fighting HIV/AIDS in penitentiary,” implemented in prisons in the ex-soviet countries; December 2005, Technical expert in projects for Prophylaxis HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries in Ukraine; October 2006, Slovenia Senior Trainer in the “Training for prevention of HIV/AIDS infection and instructing in the domain of harm reduction in prisons”; May 2007, Warsaw, Poland Major Session Speaker at the 18th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm; October 2007, Egypt, technical expert in projects for Prophylaxis HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries from South African Cities; November 2007, Bucharest Technical expert in projects for Prophylaxis of HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries in Romanian Cities; December 2007, Technical expert in projects for Prophylaxis of HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries from cities in Azerbaijan; February 2008, Moscow Expert, Presenting the experience of MOLDOVA in preventing HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries; April 2009, Major Session Speaker at the 20th International Conference on the Harm Reduction, Thailand; June 2010, London Major Session Speaker at the 2nd European Conference “Drugs, Alcohol and Criminal Justice”.